Sunday, October 31, 2021

The Tallis Scholars, Monks (and Nuns)-for-a-day on BBC Radio 3

The Tallis Scholars are waking up early this morning to begin chanting all the hours of the traditional Divine Office (including Prime!), starting with Matins at 1 a.m. London Winter Time (falling back a week before we do in the USA):

As part of Radio 3’s “Capturing Twilight” season, throughout the day the Tallis Scholars, world renowned for their exquisitely pure tone and shimmering choral sounds, evoke the ancient Christian tradition of the Divine Office. Starting just as the clocks change back to Greenwich Mean Time at 1am, they sing settings of words and psalms associated with each of the eight offices, or Canonical Hours, across the day. This daily ritual of Christian devotion was created in the 6th century by St Benedict, and remains familiar in monasteries and convents around the world today. The Tallis Scholars director Peter Philips introduces each of the offices at roughly three-hour intervals, beginning with Matins, then Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and ending with Compline, reflecting the time of the day with Latin chant interspersed with polyphony from across the centuries. Music includes chant melodies by Hildegard of Bingen, settings of prayers, motets and canticles by Renaissance composers such as Thomas Tallis, Orlande de Lassus, John Sheppard and John Taverner, sitting alongside more recent works by Arvo Pärt, John Tavener, and Igor Stravinsky.

You may see all the Offices and their London times here. Peter Phillips of the Tallis Scholars describes his planning for the day's performances: evidently, these Hours are not celebrating either today's feast of Christ the King according to the 1962 Roman Calendar (which would be entirely appropriate since the Tallis Scholars have included Prime, eliminated during the post-Vatican II revision of the Divine Office) or the Thirty-First (31st) Sunday of Ordinary Time according the 1970 Roman Calendar and revised Liturgy of Hours!

In the course of describing his choices he mentions that he wanted to feature the music of Saint Hildegard of Bingen during the minor hours, sung by the women of The Tallis Scholars:

Some decisions were made before the actual music was chosen. I decided the Offices of daylight (slightly depending on where you are and the time of year) – Prime, Terce, Sext and None – should be sung by women, and should include music by Abbess Hildegard of Bingen. Eventually I had to leave Terce out of this neat arrangement, but the other three and Matins are introduced by her music, the one at Matins which launches our cycle, entitled In principio, is one of the great compositions of the pre-polyphonic period. In our broadcasts the women then sing all the chant, including the psalms, as the men do in the other services.

The BBC Radio 3 website should make all the episodes of this day of Gregorian Chant, Polyphony, and other liturgical music styles available to listen to after their broadcasts.

Image Credit (Public Domain): Illumination from Hildegard's Scivias (1151) showing her receiving a vision and dictating to teacher Volmar.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Whig vs. Tory Interpretations of History

From The Imaginative Conservative, Michael J. Connolly, Professor of History at Purdue University Northwest in Indiana, considers the flaws and limitations of Herbert Butterfield's 1931 study of the Whig view of the interpretation of the past (history), which view emphasizes progress as the preferred and indeed inevitable outcome and the denunciation of anyone in the past who argued against the inevitable progress of civilization. He then explores some themes of the alternative Tory view of the interpretation of the past, which emphasizes order and continuity.

First he argues that Butterfield was still a Whig and had determined that the way to solve the problem of the Whig interpretation of history is to be completely objective:

. . . The question of whether Whiggery and liberalism themselves were to blame goes unexamined. In addition, his preference was for a kind of radical empiricism where the historian studies the past entirely on its own terms. While Butterfield admits that historians cannot perfectly absent themselves from contemporary concerns, he nonetheless pines for an impossible degree of objectivity. Readers of the Whig Interpretation of History can be forgiven for wondering if in Butterfield’s view history has any meaning or moral content whatsoever and if the only possible response to Whig history is a bloodless recitation of facts. . . .

Even Butterfield missed his empirical ideal, when during World War II he back-peddled from his earlier paean to objectivity with ringing defenses of England’s endangered heritage of liberty. History had moral content after all. So, if Butterfield’s antidote to Whiggery falls short, another historical method is needed. It is no use combating Whig history with a kind of historical neutrality of “just the facts,” as it cedes the field to liberals who will rightly claim that objectivity is impossible anyway and continue the triumphant narrative. The Whigs must be met on the historiographical battlefield with opposing interpretive methods. The contrasting force is not the impossible dream of radical objective empiricism, but the Tory interpretation of history with its own values, perceptions, categories, and subsequent narrative.

Then he looks at the Tory interpretation of history as an alternative that has been around for centuries too, and he highlights the Tory emphasis on biography:

The Tory interpretation is not an invention of today, but a genuine school of history that fought against Whig history in the interpretive battles after the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688. Tory historians like the Restoration lawyer Roger North, whose 1706 Examen: Or, An Enquiry Into The Credit And Veracity Of A Pretended Complete History, Showing The Perverse And Wicked Design Of It worked to refute Bishop White Kennett’s Whiggish A Complete History of England, were equally combative as the Whigs and equally full of confident moral judgments based on observations of change over time. The Tory values expressed in their histories contrasted starkly with Whigs and were founded in an alternative vision of how the world works. . . .

As he notes, citing historian Roger Schmidt, the emphasis on biography highlighted the complexity of the past, because as we all know from personal experience, an individual human being is complex and complicated in motive, action, effort, and success. Emphasis on biography also helps us empathize with the person in the past, facing whatever crisis he or she faced: perhaps it help us neither demonize or canonize that person and his or her cause. (Thinking of course of "canonization" outside of the Catholic Church's determination that a saint is worthy of veneration and is in Heaven to intercede for us with God the Father!) 

Please read the rest there. I think these are important issues to consider when so many today think that we know precisely who today is "on the right side of history" and thus censure, censor, or cancel those aren't and think we know absolutely who in the past was "on the wrong side of history" and thus should be censured, censored, or cancelled. Case in point: Saint Junipero Serra. (We should remember that the Catholic Church never teaches that any saint in Heaven is indefectible, just holy, which should be a great consolation to all of us!)

In a comment, Connolly provides the sources he cited:

Michael Gordin, “The Tory Interpretation of History,” Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, Vol. 44, 4 (2014) 413-423.
Mark Knights, “The Tory Interpretation of History in the Rage of Parties,” Huntington Library Quarterly, Vol. 68, Nos 1&2 (2005) 353-372.
Wilfred McClay, “Whig History at Eighty,” First Things, March 2011.
Roger Schmidt, “Roger North’s Examen: A Crisis in Historiography,” Eighteenth Century Studies, Vol. 26, 1 (1992) 57-75.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Today in Westminster: The Holy Martyrs of Douai

Today, the Diocese of Westminster, London celebrates the feast of the Douai Martyrs--that is, martyrs who studied at the English College/seminary in Douai during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries--who have been beatified and canonized. From St. Cuthbert Mayne, the protomartyr, to Blessed Thomas Thwing, a Popish Plot martyr, they suffered and died for the Catholic Faith and to serve the Catholic laity starting in 1577 and ending in 1679--102 years, from the reign of Elizabeth I to the reign of Charles II!

At 10:00 a.m. British Summer Time (4:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time) St Alban & St Stephen Roman Catholic Church will livestream the Mass celebrating this feast. (The parish has a YouTube channel so you should be able to watch the Mass at a time convenient for you.)

A couple of years ago I purchased the Baronius Press version of the 1962 Roman Missal: The Daily Missal and Liturgical Missal, Summorum Pontificum edition because it includes:
  • Supplement of special Masses for the Dioceses of the USA
  • Supplement of special Masses for the Dioceses of England and Wales
  • Supplement of special Masses for the Dioceses of Scotland
  • Supplement of special Masses for the Dioceses of Australia and New Zealand
I have not used it at Mass (I am used to the Angelus Press Roman Missal) but reference it for that supplement and the many prayers it also contains. In this Missal, the Collect is:

Excite in us, O Lord, that Spirit which Thy blessed Martyrs of Douai obeyed: that we, filled with the same Spirit, may ourselves endeavour to love what they cherished, and to practice what they taught. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ . . .  Amen.

The other Propers are the same as for the Mass of the Blessed Martyrs of England and Wales on May 4, except for the Gospel, which is from the Mass of Many Martyrs, Salus Autem (Luke 12, 1-8)

Blessed Martyrs of Douai, pray for us!

Image Credit: the Colleges at Douai (the English College is on the top), Adrien de Montigny (?–1615)[2] - From Les Collèges à Douai of the Album of Duke Charles of Croy. (Public Domain)

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Preview: Saints Crispin and Crispinian on the Son Rise Morning Show

Although their feast is no longer on the Roman Calendar, Anna Mitchell of the Son Rise Morning Show asked me to discuss the feast of Saints Crispin and Crispinian on Monday, October 25, their traditional feast (they are still included on the Church of England's sanctoral calendar). 

Please listen live on EWTN Radio or on your local EWTN affiliate at my usual time, 7:50 a.m. Eastern/6:50 a.m. Central.

They were martyrs in the early Church, excruciatingly executed during the reign of Diocletian on October 25 in 285/286. The old Catholic Encyclopedia gives an account of their martyrdom, according to the Bollandists:

The legend relates that they were Romans of distinguished descent who went as missionaries of the Christian Faith to Gaul and chose Soissons as their field of labour. In imitation of St. Paul they worked with their hands, making shoes, and earned enough by their trade to support themselves and also to aid the poor. During the Diocletian persecution they were brought before Maximianus Herculius whom Diocletian had appointed co-emperor. At first Maximianus sought to turn them from their faith by alternate promises and threats. But they replied: "Thy threats do not terrify us, for Christ is our life, and death is our gain. Thy rank and possessions are nought to us, for we have long before this sacrificed the like for the sake of Christ and rejoice in what we have done. If thou shouldst acknowledge and love Christ thou wouldst give not only all the treasures of this life, but even the glory of thy crown itself in order through the exercise of compassion to win eternal life." When Maximianus saw that his efforts were of no avail, he gave Crispin and Crispinian into the hands of the governor Rictiovarus (Rictius Varus), a most cruel persecutor of the Christians. Under the order of Rictiovarus they were stretched on the rack, thongs were cut from their flesh, and awls were driven under their finger-nails. A millstone was then fastened about the neck of each, and they were thrown into the Aisne, but they were able to swim to the opposite bank of the river. In the same manner they suffered no harm from a great fire in which Rictiovarus, in despair, sought death himself. Afterwards the two saints were beheaded at the command of Maximianus.

Shakespeare's Henry V recalls to his troops in Act IV, Scene 3 that they fight the battle of Agincourt on the feast of these twin martyr saints, Saints Crispin and Crispinian:

This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

When Laurence Olivier filmed his version of Henry V in 1944, Winston Churchill was very pleased with the patriotic fervor of this speech, so needed during the Battle of Britain and World War II. 

Shakespeare's Henry V brings up other Catholic imagery that might have sounded strange in post-Reformation English ears, but might have still be vaguely familiar in 1599. In Act IV, Scene I the king describes all he has done to pray for the repose of King Richard II's soul to make up for his father's "fault . . . in compassing the crown":

O God of battles! steel my soldiers' hearts;
Possess them not with fear; take from them now
The sense of reckoning, if the opposed numbers
Pluck their hearts from them. Not to-day, O Lord,
O, not to-day, think not upon the fault
My father made in compassing the crown!
I Richard's body have interred anew;
And on it have bestow'd more contrite tears
Than from it issued forced drops of blood:
Five hundred poor I have in yearly pay,
Who twice a-day their wither'd hands hold up
Toward heaven, to pardon blood; and I have built
Two chantries, where the sad and solemn priests
Sing still for Richard's soul. More will I do;

Though all that I can do is nothing worth,
Since that my penitence comes after all,
Imploring pardon.

Those were terms often used in Last Wills and Testaments before Henry VIII (he wanted Masses said for his soul that certainly weren't offered during his son's reign*), Edward VI, and Elizabeth I changed Christian doctrine and practice in England: having the poor pray for the departed soul; having Masses and the Offices said in Chantries, special chapels for that purpose, either within churches and cathedrals or on private land. Henry VIII ordered the chantries dissolved along with the monasteries in 1545 but died before he benefited from the proceeds; Edward VI followed up with another Act closing them down. So Shakespeare was alluding here to traditions that had been declared illegal as the doctrine of Purgatory and the efficacy of prayer for the dead was declared false.

*Henry VIII's Will of 1546 required the following:

Upon his death, his executors shall, as soon as possible, cause the service for dead folk to be celebrated at the nearest suitable place, convey his body to Windsor to be buried with ceremonies (described), and distribute 1,000 alms to the poor “(common beggars, as much as may be, avoided)” with injunctions to pray for his soul. St. George’s College in Windsor Castle shall be endowed (if he shall not have already done it) with lands to the yearly value of 600l., and the dean and canons shall, by indenture, undertake:–(1) to find two priests to say mass at the aforesaid altar; [sounds like a chantry!](2) to keep yearly four solemn obits at which 10l. shall be distributed in alms; (3) to give thirteen poor men, to be called Poor Knights, each 12d. a day, and yearly a long gown of white cloth &c. (described), one of the thirteen being their governor and having, in addition, 3l. 6s. 8d. yearly; and (4) to cause a sermon to be made every Sunday at Windsor.

Image Credit (public domain): Aert van den Bossche - Martyrdom of St. Crispin and Crispinian

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Preview: Saint Philip Howard and the Jesuit Connection

Anna Mitchell of the Son Rise Morning Show asked me to come on their second EWTN hour on Monday, October 18 at my usual time (about 7:50 a.m. Eastern/6:50 a.m. Central) to talk about the feasts of St. Philip Howard and of the North American Martyrs on October 19. Please listen live on EWTN Radio or on your local EWTN affiliate.

There is a connection between this English lay martyr in chains in the Tower of London and these Jesuit missionaries in North America: the Jesuit Connection.

St. Philip Howard died on October 19, 1595, condemned to death at a time and date of Queen Elizabeth I's pleasure, found guilty of praying for the success of the Spanish Armada. 

It was the influence of two English Jesuit missionaries--and his own wife's faith--that brought Howard to the Tower and his long imprisonment (1585-1595): St. Edmund Campion, SJ and Father William Weston, SJ.

First, he witnessed one of Saint Edmund Campion's debates with the Anglican divines in the Tower of London in 1581, based on Campion's "Decem Rationes" (Ten Reasons). Campion did so well in proving his case in these debates that he never had the opportunity to go through all his Ten Reasons. Howard was impressed by Campion's brilliance and convinced that the Anglicans, while being unfair (they had books and Campion didn't; they could ask questions and Campion couldn't) hadn't proved the Jesuit wrong. Certainly, Campion had made Howard think about the Catholic Church.

Second, Howard was reconciled to the Catholic Church by Father William Weston, SJ on September 30, 1584 at Arundel Castle in Sussex. At the same time, Howard reconciled with his wife Anne and became a devoted husband.

Howard tried to leave England, knowing that he was not welcome at Court because of his conversion (which showed in his changed behavior). He was arrested at sea in 1585 and imprisoned in the Tower. His wife was pregnant with their second child, the son he would never see.

There's a third Jesuit connection during his imprisonment: another martyr, St. Robert Southwell, SJ, who was Anne's chaplain, wrote An Epistle of Comfort for him. When Southwell was held in the Tower before his execution, Howard and he communicated through messages carried by Howard's dog.

Saint Philip Howard died of dysentery on October 19, 1595. He is now buried in the Cathedral of Our Lady and St. Philip Howard in Arundel. His wife, Anne Howard, the Countess of Arundel died on April 19, 1630 when she was 73 years old. She never remarried after his death and struggled to survive during Elizabeth I's reign; King James I restored her jointure lands, which she'd received as her own when she married, so that solved some of her financial troubles.

As to the Northern American or Canadian Martyrs, they aren't just connected to the Society of Jesus, they are Jesuits:
  • Saint Rene Goupil (lay brother), martyred in 1642
  • Saint Isaac Jogues and Saint Jean de Lalande, martyred in 1646
  • Saint Antoine Daniel, in 1648, 
  • Saints Jean de Brebeuf, Noel Chabanel, Charles Garnier, and Gabriel Lalement, in 1649
Unlike the Jesuit priests and martyrs who returned to England after study on the Continent, ministering to hidden Catholics, wearing disguises, sought by authorities for treason, these French Jesuits prepared for missions to the Native Americans, the Algonquins and Hurons, etc. As this panegyric to their efforts proclaims:

Members of the Society of Jesus who dedicated themselves to the conversion of the American Indians took Christ’s words very literally. They journeyed from Renaissance France to the frontiers of North America that they might preach and baptize. After pouring the saving waters of Baptism on a dying Indian child, Saint John de Brebeuf, the great pioneer of this mission, exclaimed with joy, “For this one single occasion I would travel all the way from France; I would cross the great ocean to win one little soul for Our Lord!” And so pleased was God with the genuine zeal and the extraordinary sacrifices of these Jesuit apostles that He bestowed upon Father Brebeuf and seven of his fellow missionaries the glorious crown of martyrdom. . . .

The Society of Jesus had been founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola during the turbulent times following the Protestant Revolution. By the dawning of the seventeenth century the Jesuits had won renown as zealous missionaries and ardent defenders of the Catholic Faith.

The Order was still at the peak of its power, prestige, and holiness when a new mission field began to unfold. France, eldest daughter of the Church, was beginning to colonize North America, and the vast untamed regions of the New World were inhabited by pagan natives who had never before been evangelized.

They achieved some success among the Hurons, learning their language, living with them, and were martyred, mostly, by the Iroquois, who were constant enemies of the Huron, after horrendous torture.

This is beyond the scope of our discussion on Monday, but I should mention here that English Jesuits were still suffering arrest and execution in their native land in approximately the same years as these eight North American martyrs:

(All at Tyburn.) I don't know if these English and French Jesuits would have ever met on the Continent; the English had separate colleges and seminaries established for them. There's another research topic!

Saint Philip Howard, pray for us!
Saint Rene Goupil, pray for us!
Saint Isaac Jogues, pray for us!
Saint Jean de Lalande, pray for us!
Saint Antoine Daniel, pray for us!
Saint Jean de Brebeuf, , pray for us!
Saint Noel Charbanel, pray for us! 
Saint Charles Garnier, pray for us!
Saint Gabriel Lalement, pray for us!

Monday, October 11, 2021

Book Review: Two by Hugh (Ross Williamson)

I have heard of Hugh Ross Williamson (1901-1978) before: he was an early revisionist historian of the Whig tradition of the English Reformation and its aftermath: The Gunpowder Plot (1951); The Beginning of the English Reformation (1957); The Conspirators and the Crown (1959), etc. He was raised in a Nonconformist (English Protestants not accepting Church of England doctrine and worship) family, became an Anglican minister in 1943 and then became a Catholic in 1955. 

At that time there was no Pastoral Provision (as Pope Saint John Paul II established in 1982) or Anglican Ordinariate (as Pope Benedict XVI established in 2009), so as he was married, he became a layman in the Catholic Church and continued his career as a prolific author. Joseph Pearce highlights his career in Literary Converts: Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief (Ignatius Press). 

One of the best anecdotes Pearce relates is Williamson's opportunity to write a play for the 1953 Canterbury Festival (the same event for which T.S. Eliot wrote Murder in the Cathedral and Dorothy L. Sayers The Zeal of Thy House). Like Eliot, whom Williamson admired, he wrote a play about a former Archbishop of Canterbury, entombed in the Cathedral like many Catholic archbishops before him: Reginald Cardinal Pole (!). The current Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, did not attend Williamson's play, His Eminence of England, and Robert Speaight, the Catholic (convert) actor who portrayed both St. Thomas of Canterbury and Reginald Cardinal Pole in their respective plays, regretted the low turnout for the performances. 

When he became a Catholic, Williamson lost all his sources of income, including his role on the BBC Brains Trust program (the BBC TV version). His brain--being now Catholic--could not be trusted. So he wrote, acted (as Ian Rossiter), etc., to support his family.

I'm going to comment on these books in the reverse order of my reading: The Great Prayer (Gracewing) and The Great Betrayal (Arouca Press). That's the order in which he wrote them.

The first point to be made about The Great Prayer is that he wrote it was he was still an Anglican minister (dated Maundy Thursday, 1954). When Gracewing (a Catholic publisher in the UK) republished the book, it did not seek a Nihil Obstat or Imprimatur from a Catholic diocese but did ask a Catholic bishop, Alan S. Hopes, to recommend the book. 

Hopes was at the time an Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster and is now the Bishop of East Anglia--coincidentally (?) he was also once an Anglican minister, ordained in 1968. In 1994, he joined the Catholic Church, then was ordained a Catholic priest in 1995, then ordained a bishop in 2003. Pope Francis appointed him the Bishop of East Anglia in 2013. 

N.B.: Hopes had evidently never been married, thus did not need a Pastoral Provision or Personal Ordinariate. 

In his introduction, Hopes notes that "while this is not the most up-to-date scholarly work on this Eucharistic prayer, it does nevertheless hold its value. Its freshness of style will make it a pleasant as well as an informative read for today." (p. vi)

The point is: this is a historical document as much as it is a liturgical and theological study of the Roman Canon, what is now the First Eucharistic Prayer in the Roman Missal of 1970, but which remains the only Eucharistic Prayer in the Roman Missal of 1962. When Hugh Ross Williamson wrote it, he was convinced of certain ecclesiastical and doctrinal facts within the Church of England that proved not to be true: therefore he became a Catholic. 

He hoped that the Roman Canon, since it existed for more than a thousand years before the Church of England was established, could be a point of unity between Catholics and Protestants. He thought that it did not require belief in the doctrine of Transubstantiation to believe in The Real Presence of Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, since this Great Prayer was in use before the Council of Trent. 

Like Newman, Williamson was appealing to antiquity (and more recent history before the English Reformation) for the basis of change or reform in the Church of England:

In praying the Canon we unite ourselves with all fellow-Christians 'throughout the ages, world without end'. In knowing the Canon, we become grounded in the teaching of the primitive Church which Protestants no less than Catholics accept [sic?] and so we may find that the Lord's Table, despite all the controversies which have disgraced His followers, is indeed the centre of unity." (p. 14) . . .

[The division of opinion between Christians is not] "between those who believe in 'some kind of change in the elements' and those who call the change 'Transubstantiation'" . . . [it is] "between those who believe that they are receiving the Body and the Blood in a Sacrament and those who believe that their faith is spiritually quickened by eating bread and drinking wine in an act of remembrance."

The first Archbishop of Canterbury, Saint Augustine, sent by Pope Saint Gregory the Great, had offered the unbloody Sacrifice of the Mass to the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit through this Great Prayer--why couldn't he, Father Hugh Ross Williamson, do the same?

But his Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, disagreed with him on this point as he did on the play celebrating Cardinal Archbishop Pole. I was surprised that in Literary Converts Pearce said that the issue of the Church of South India being admitted to the Anglican Communion was the final blow for Williamson, not the use of the Roman Canon/the Great Prayer in Anglo-Catholic services. 

There is another interesting parallel between Newman and Williamson here: one of the last blows for Newman, moving him from his Anglican deathbed to the "one, true fold of Christ" was the Jerusalem bishopric to be shared by Church of England and Lutheran prelates.

Williamson descries the "Irrational prejudices [that] still cloud the reason" among the English against the spiritual authority of the Pope (who is mentioned and prayed for in the first prayer of the Great Prayer, the Te Igitur). Although Article XXXVII (37) of the Thirty-Nine Articles rejects the authority of the Pope within England, Williamson argues that it clear that the current Pope (Pius XII) has spiritual, moral, and doctrinal authority over Catholics throughout the world. He wishes that the continuing cries of "No Popery" would cease. 

Just to continue the thread of Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher's impact, we should note that he met with Pope John XXXII at the Vatican in 1960--the first contact between the head of the Church of England and the Vicar of Christ for centuries.

So Williamson faced two of the main issues dividing Protestants (and some Anglo-Catholics) and Catholics: the Real Presence and the authority of the Pope. He also addresses Catholic (catholic?) beliefs about the Blessed Virgin Mary, prayer for the dead, the Communion of Saints, and other controversial topics between Catholics and Protestants from an Anglo-Catholic viewpoint.

Throughout his explication of the Great Prayer, Williamson emphasizes the sacrificial aspect of the Mass, of the offering of the bread and wine, of the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, and on the atonement we participate in through this prayer. He notes again that many outside the Church misunderstand what happens at Mass: we do not crucify Jesus again; this an unbloody sacrifice. We can only offer what God has given us; not just the bread and wine on the Altar but ourselves, our intentions, our desire to be one with God. As Williamson also emphasizes, that's the meaning of atonement and he wishes we pronounced it at-one-ment--we want to be united with God and the only way we can be is through Him. We cannot do it ourselves. (Williamson notes that Pelagianism is "that old British heresy which might even be called modern British orthodoxy" (p. 145)--the English priest Pelagius had taught that Original Sin had no effect on human nature; we all had the ability to save ourselves through our Free Will choice of doing good and living according to the Commandments and we really didn't need God's Grace to do so.)

As he notes in the section on "Unde et Memores" after the Consecration:

We are careful not to forget that . . . we can only offer what he has given us. . . Tuis donis ac datus -- 'from what thou hast thyself given and granted.' All we can ever do is to render, not to give, and now, above all, is the moment to remember it. (pp. 114-115) 

Williamson highlights the main purpose of the priesthood: to "consecrate the bread and wine so that they become Christ's Body and Blood, to offer Christ thus present on the altar to the Father, to communicate Christ thus present to the faithful . . . All other functions of the priesthood are allied to or derived from this." (p. 143)

A major frustration throughout the text is that Williamson cites and quotes many authors and works, but does not provide footnotes or definite sources! He refers to Chesterton, Newman, Dom Gregory Dix, the Cure d'Ars, Pope Innocent III, Pope Pius X, C.S. Lewis, Archbishop of Canterbury Benson and his son the Catholic convert Father Benson (I presume), Dean Farrar, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and many, many others. Sometimes he mentions a title, like The Breaking of the Bread (Father John Coventry), Liturgy and Life (Dom Theodore Wesseling), The Christian Sacrifice (Dom Eugene Masure), etc., but he still does not give page numbers or other information. Gracewing obviously published the book without tracking down those citations, because that would be a time-consuming project.

Based upon his deep understanding of the Sacrifice of the Mass and the role of the priesthood, I presume that it would have been a great sorrow to him that when he became Catholic that he could not celebrate the Mass as a Catholic in the fullness that he had wanted to as an Anglican. Williamson could still participate in the offering of the Mass and receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus in Holy Communion, but he could not consecrate the bread and the wine. 

But the further sorrow for him--which I'll continue in another post soon--came for him with the changes in the order of the Mass after the Second Vatican Council in the Roman Missal of 1970. He addressed those in the next book I'll review, The Great Betrayal--and among the issues he discusses there is the creation of optional Eucharistic Prayers which he contends do not represent the Sacrifice the Mass as fully as the Great Prayer/The Roman Canon (that's really litotes on my part!).

Arouca Press has brought two of Williamson's essays together in this edition:"The Modern Mass: a Reversion to the Reforms of Cranmer" from 1969 and "The Great Betrayal: Some Thoughts on the Invalidity of the New Mass" from 1971. Joseph Shaw, the current Chairman of the Latin Mass Society in the UK and Williamson's daughter, Julia Ashenden, who was also one of Joseph Pearce's sources in Literary Converts for information about her father, contributed the Foreword and Introduction, respectively. 

Obviously, a more controversial subject. Reading that volume and Pearce's reporting of Williamson's last years reminded me of Evelyn Waugh's bitter trial with the changes made to the celebration of Holy Week and the Holy Mass before the Roman Missal of 1970.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Saint John Henry Newman: The Fifth Saint of the City of London

Looking around the internet for something different to say  about Saint John Henry Newman on his feast day, I found this comment on the website for an eponymous parish in Manchester:

He is the fifth saint of the City of London, behind Thomas Becket (born in Cheapside), Thomas More (born on Milk Street), Edmund Campion (son of a London bookseller) and Polydore Plasden (of Fleet Street).

While he has joined that exalted company it should be noted that Saint John Henry Newman is the only Confessor saint among the five. The others are martyrs:

St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, martyred on December 29, 1170, in the Cathedral.

St. Thomas More, Knight and Layman, martyred on July 6, 1535 outside the Tower of London, on the Even of St. Thomas, the vigil of the feast of the Translation of the Relics of St. Thomas of Canterbury.

St. Edmund Campion, SJ, martyred on December 1, 1581 at Tyburn, in London.

St. Polydore Plasden, the son of a London horner (maker of musical instruments) on Fleet Street, martyred on December 10, 1591, outside St. Swithun Well's house near Gray's Inn in London.

As the Birmingham Oratory website reminds us, however, Newman wasn't in London long:

John Henry Newman was born on February 21st, 1801, in London. He was the eldest of six and was the son of John and Jemima Newman. His father was a banker in the city, and was able to give John Henry Newman a middle class upbringing on Southampton Street in Bloomsbury. His family were practising members of the Church of England, so Newman was exposed to Holy Scripture at an early age, becoming an avid reader of it. At the age of seven, Newman went to study at Great Ealing School [in London]. . . .

At the age of sixteen, Newman became an undergraduate at Trinity College, Oxford. After his undergraduate studies he was elected to a fellowship at Oriel College, at the time the leading college of the university, in 1822.

So from 1817 to 1841, when he moved to Littlemore, Newman was, as he thought he always would be, in Oxford (24 years). Therefore, we associate Newman much more with Oxford than we do with London. 

Once he left Littlemore in 1846, he went to Maryvale, then to Rome, and back to Maryvale, finally settling in Birmingham in 1849, where would live in the Oratory until his death in 1890 (41 years), with trips to Dublin, Rome, and other locations, including giving the Lectures on Certain Difficulties felt by Anglicans in submitting to the Catholic Church at the London Oratory in 1850. But troubles between the Birmingham and London Oratories meant that he did not return to the London Oratory until 1881 after he'd been named a Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII. There is now a chapel dedicated to him in the London Oratory.

It's an interesting perspective on Newman, whose life is so often noted as being divided approximately in half: the first half of his life an Anglican, the last half a Catholic. For sixteen years or so he was a Londoner; for 24 years like the snapdragon on the walls in Oxford, and for 41 years in Birmingham.

Just a reminder of the prayers and readings for his feast as celebrated in England.

Saint Thomas of Canterbury, pray for us!
Saint Thomas More, pray for us!
Saint Edmund Campion, pray for us!
Saint Polydore Plasden, pray for us!

Saint John Henry Newman, pray for us!

Monday, October 4, 2021

Lingard on Newman, Part Two

I've been waiting for this article since January of this year, when I wrote:

I look forward to learning more about Lingard's reasons for not liking Newman in the promised subsequent article. . . .

I also commented that John Lingard's desire for conversions to the Catholic Church was not completely satisfied by those who converted: he mistrusted Newman and Faber, etc.

Shaun Blanchard's concluding article about Lingard's mistrust and dislike of Newman continues the same theme: rather contradictory but also rather ignorant. For example Blanchard notes that Lingard associated Newman with Faber too closely--he lumped the Oxford converts together without distinction or discrimination:

Lingard followed news of Newman and his conversion closely.[12] However, in addition to never really permitting Newman to shake his association with the Oxford Movement (a strike against him in Lingard’s eyes), the old Cisalpine also seems to have negatively associated Newman with Faber (whom he called “credulous”)[13] and with the burgeoning ultramontanism and Romanticism sweeping English Catholicism. Unfortunately, Lingard never recognized Newman as the profoundly unique thinker he was, nor as one who deftly eschewed the standard binaries and party lines of the age and of the church. Lingard even admitted, in 1845, to not having yet read Newman![14] . . .

The second reason for Lingard’s sense of alienation from those he called the “Newmanites” was more principled. When he bluntly admitted to John Walker in January of 1850 that he “didn’t like Newman” that reasons he cited are telling: “too much fancy or enthusiasm.”[20] While there is an element of taste here—Lingard was a man of the Catholic Enlightenment who naturally recoiled from Romanticism and Pugin’s neo-Gothic revival—there was also an important principle at stake.[21] For Lingard, and many of his generation, the theologically correct and pragmatically most effective way to engage Protestants was through stripping away superstitions, triumphalism, and any unnecessary accretions to the Old Faith. Protestants rightly resented all of these things. What remained could be grasped by Protestants of good will as the pure faith of their English ancestors and, indeed, of the early church.

We have to remember that Lingard died in 1851, just after the Restoration of the Hierarchy and just six (6) years after Newman's conversion--but for one who knows a little about Newman's devotional and even architectural proclivities, these comments are strange and seem unfair. If Lingard hadn't read of any Newman's writings in 1845, would he have read Loss and Gain, the Discourses to Mixed Congregations, or Anglican Difficulties (or followed the reports of the lectures) by 1850? 

He seems to have relied merely upon his impressions and prejudices, not upon any real research or sources.

Lingard had very particular goals in mind for any converts, and Blanchard again highlights Lingard's rather contradictory views of the converts coming out of the Oxford Movement:

There is a kind of paradox here, or at least a tension, because on one hand Lingard intimated that the new converts were not Catholic enough—or at least suspiciously attached to “false ideas they imbibed at Oxford”—but on the other hand they were resented for being too Catholic, in the sense of trying to assimilate their Catholicism too much to a foreign standard that was Roman, “Jesuitical,” or Italian.

In an odd way, Newman appears to great advantage in this article, because not knowing what Lingard had written about him, he expressed admiration of Lingard's methods and "comportment":

Newman, thankfully, seems to have been totally unaware that Lingard disliked him. At the death of Lingard’s close friend John Walker in 1873 (to whom Lingard confided so much of his disdain for “Newmanites”!). Newman wrote of his “greatest esteem” for Walker. Newman “looked at [Walker] with veneration as one of the few remaining priests who kept up the tradition of Dr. Lingard’s generation of Catholics.”[24] Seven years earlier, Newman had written to John Walker, thanking him for sending information on Lingard’s intra-Catholic controversies in the early 1830’s. In light of his later praise of Lingard, Newman presumably approved of his comportment. In Lingardian fashion, Newman went on in the same letter to caution against the merits of seeking out confrontation with Anglicans.[25] . . .

Blanchard hopes that Lingard might have learned to like Newman if he had lived longer:

Had he lived longer, or had he been fairer to Newman and actually engaged with his thought as an individual rather than a symbol, Lingard would have seen that the sensitive and brilliant Oxford convert was in fact preserving many of the concerns that Lingard himself held dear. We should keep in mind that in the years around Newman’s conversion, Lingard was an old man, suffering on and off from ill health. It is nevertheless unfortunate that Lingard did not engage with Newman’s ecclesiology in particular. He would have discovered a kindred spirit with nuanced and sophisticated views of the structures and offices of the church. Lingard would have also seen how much more he had in common with Newman than with the Mannings, Fabers, and Wards with which he lumped him together. . . .

In his first footnote to the article, Blanchard highlights an excellent source for a review of Father John Lingard's historical career and outlook for his future investigation, which I reviewed in 2010:

An informative chapter on Lingard from John Vidmar should be included in my review of the secondary literature on Lingard: Vidmar, English Catholic Historians and the English Reformation, 1585–1954 (Eastbourne: Sussex Academic Press, 2005), 52–74.

By the way, it's available in paperback now!