Thursday, February 11, 2016

Reports on the Hampton Court Chapel Vespers

I cannot access The Catholic Herald website now because of Malware warnings, but they have a story posted on the Hampton Court Vespers. The Guardian and The Telegraph reported on the service and the conversation that took place before the Vespers.

From The Telegraph, John Bingham reports on the discussion between the Anglican bishop and Catholic cardinal archbishop before Vespers:

All practising Christians are now a "minority" in Britain like persecuted Roman Catholics during the Reformation, according to two of Britain's most senior Anglican and Catholic clerics.

The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said the churches must set aside centuries of division and recognise they have a "common agenda" in a more secular age.

The two prelates were speaking at a unique event at Hampton Court Palace, which served as the backdrop to the tumultuous events of Henry VIII's break with Rome.

In a step hailed as hailed as a landmark in reconciliation between Anglicanism the Catholicism, they joined in a service of vespers in the Chapel Royal.

The service, sung mainly in Latin, was the first Roman Catholic act of worship in Henry's former chapel in more than 450 years.

The Guardian story, by Harriet Sherwood, leads off with a description of the service:

About 15 miles from Hampton Court Palace in south-west London, Henry VIII may have turned in his grave. Almost half a millennium after the Act of Supremacy, which declared the Tudor king as the supreme head of the Church of England and formalised the break with Rome, England’s most senior Catholic cleric celebrated Vespers in the palace’s Chapel Royal on Tuesday evening.

The scent of incense filled the air beneath the chapel’s magnificent blue and gold ceiling as a small procession made its way towards the altar. Vincent Nichols, the Catholic archbishop of Westminster, in a gold mitre and brocade robe, walked a few steps behind Richard Chartres, the Anglican bishop of London and dean of the royal chapels, in a symbolic gesture of reconciliation.

The first Catholic service in the chapel for more than 450 years was hailed as “one for the history books” by John Studzinski of the Genesis Foundation, which jointly organised the event with the Choral Foundation. “Dialogue between faiths is much needed and welcomed in these turbulent times. We need to recognise that we have more in common than not.”

About 300 people attended the service, which was largely conducted in Latin and featured hauntingly beautiful choral music from the 15th and 16th centuries. It concluded with the national anthem.

The comments to The Guardian story are sad reading, ranging from anti-Catholicism, fear of Latin, and rejection of all organized religion. I'll update this story once The Catholic Herald website warnings are off.


  1. The story of the English saints and Martyrs needs to be told...preferably in Hollywood... I am working on it..

    1. A movie about the life and death of Edmund Campion would be a great adventure story!