Monday, 26 March 2012

Mgr Gilbey...

The great Mgr Alfred Gilbey died 14 years ago today. Customers of the St Lawrence Press Ordo will notice that on 26th March, under the instructions for the liturgical day, is written: Dies Anniv Rmi Alfredi Newman Canonici Gilbey, Praelati, 1998. This inclusion is due to the fact that Mgr Gilbey bought, and used, the Ordo. I have heard nothing but praise of Mgr Gilbey from those who knew him well (including many of my personal friends). Great among the proto-Traditionalists of the Church, he resigned from the Chaplaincy to Fisher House, Cambridge in 1965, after 33 years, when it became clear that the university would admit women to the status of undergraduates - a man whose views about women resemble my own. It can be said that the shibboleth of Liturgiae Causa is the pseudo-feast of ''Joseph the Worker,'' about which I have written at length before. Mgr Gilbey, who was herald of a time when traditionalism was about at least the semblance of Tradition, had nothing to do with it, and on 1st May was wont to come from the sacristy of the London Oratory in a chasuble of the blood red hue of the Martyrs, to the indignation of the provost. Nor did he ever say the Collect Pro Papa on the days prescribed, but said rather Ecclesiae. Modern Traddies conveniently seem to forget this.

Were Mgr Gilbey alive to-day, I doubt he would identify with modern day traditionalists and their reprobate customs. Mgr Gilbey was a gentleman with principles and sense, not a sell out to the Ultramontane Papacy. I wonder if Tolkien knew him? It seems not unlikely. I expect they had a great deal in common.
I couldn't find a photo of Mgr Gilbey, so this image of the Travellers Club will have to do, I'm afraid. Mgr Gilbey did, of course, take up permanent residence there when he retired.

Requiescat in pace.



  2. He was a very dear and holy man. His Masses on the Sunday after the first Friday of the month at his cousin's house near Henley shewed him at his very best. His 'low' Palm Sunday was quite magnificent.

    One altar card, missal cushion and sanctus candle. In addition it was the only time in later year he regularly preached. His sermons were always interesting, encouraging, memorable and never lasted more than five minutes.

    May he rest in peace. Perhaps his intercession on this anniversary effected the change of Provost at Brompton?