Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday 31 May 2010

Newman's Oxford

The Oxford Oratory has just published a new, extended, edition of Fr Jerome Bertram's Newman's Oxford.

Details are available here.

It is an excellent guide to the city Newman lived in from 1817 until 1846, and a way of both learning about Newman and marking his beatification, and of contributing towards the Oratory 'Reaffirmation and Renewal Appeal'.

CIEL at the London Oratory

I more or less managed to fulfill my plan to combine celebrating Oakapple Day, the 350th anniversary of the Restoration, with attending the CIEL Conference last Saturday at the London Oratory.

I say more or less because, partly through my own fault, and partly the slowness of getting out of Oxford on the coach on a bank holiday Saturday I was too late to attend the Mass at the Oratory. This was particularly disappointing as it was a celebration of the Ember Saturday liturgy - there is some background here - with all five readings before the Epistle and Gospel, which I had not attended on any previous occasion.
However I did manage to meet up with a number of old friends and catch up on news, before making my way in the way one does to the "Bunch of Grapes" and a pub lunch, washed down with an appropriately named pint of "Royal London" to celebrate the Restoration.

Back at the Oratory there was time to visit several of the altars and spend some time in this splendid building before the afternoon conference. There were two speakers in St Wilfrid's Hall. The first was the distinguished composer James Macmillan. He spoke about his own approach to composing ecclesiastical music, and the factors which influenced him. This, I think, could be summarised as a liturgically and spiritually holistic approach, and he cited the writings of the then Cardinal Ratzinger as being central to what he saw as the direction liturgical music should take. He also drew attention to the way in which much of the public discussion of these matters was ill-informed and failed to engage with the actual issues.

The second speaker was Fr Richard Duffield,  Provost of the Birmingham Oratory and Actor for Newman's cause. He spoke about the history of the Cardinal's cause, and why it has taken so long to lead to the impending beatification. He also about some of the planning that was going into the Mass at Coventry on September 19th, and how that was evolving through discussion with the various groups involved in its organisation.

The afternoon closed with Benediction in the Little Oratory and a reception in St Wilfrid's Hall - again a chance to catch up wih friends. The CIEL Conference is always a good occasion and I would urge anyone interested to go to these occasions in the future.
I then went off on the tube to meet another very good friend, rounding off the day with supper in a Lebanese restaurant near Baker Street. This turned out to be a couple of doors away from a public house called "Pontefract Castle" - one of two in London. This seemed very appropriate on Oakapple Day given the loyal defence of the real castle in my home town in 1649 on behalf of both King Charles I and King Charles II.

Oriel and the Great War

Last Friday evening I was in Oriel for the annual Lee Seng Tee lecture on the history of the college. The speaker was Dr John Stevenson, Reader Emeritus in History, formerly a Fellow of Worcester and previously an Oriel college lecturer. His topic was Oriel and the Great War.

File:Oriel College Senior Library.jpg

The Senior Library, built in 1788, where the lecture was delivered

As those who know Dr Stevenson would have expected it was an elegant and well researched paper, delivered with both humanity and humour. Amongst the points that emerged were the fact that Oriel had the highest enlistment rate of any college in 1914, and. after Corpus Christi the second highest casualty rate over the course of the war. He focused on the role of Provost Phelps (1914-29) both during and after the war - including his extensive correspondence with Oriel men at the front and with their families and also on the post-war land sales of the college estates.

We were also reacquainted, if we needed to be, with two Orielenses who came up after war service and who were to become, in the words of a previous Regius Professor of Modern History at Oriel, the authors of the greatest work on English historiography written in the twentieth century - Sellers and Yeatman, the authors of 1066 and All That.

Dr Stevenson also spoke about Somerville's occupation of St Mary's Quad from 1915 to 1919,and the events of a June night in 1919 when during Eights Weeks celebrations an attempt was made by some Oriel men to invade the female preserve occupied by Somerville. This was the fullest account I had heard of this entertaining episode - one which does rather invite the skills of a screen writer.

The lecture, as with others in the series, is an anticipation of the collaborative history which is being written of the college.

After the lecture and its attendant reception I was entertained at High Table by my friend and visiting Fellow of the College, Peter Nockles. Once there I found that, in the absence of a Bible Clerk, my old skills as Head Bible Clerk were called upon to say the College Grace - old skills die hard.

Friday 28 May 2010

EF Masses in Oxford in June

Regular Masses:

Sunday 8am (Low Mass) Oxford Oratory

Wednesday 6pm (Low Mass) SS Gregory & Augustine, Woodstock Road

Thursday 9am (Low Mass: readings in the vernacular) St Anthony of Padua, Headley Way

Saturday 9.30am (Low Mass) St Birinus, Dorchester on Thames

Other celebrations in June:

Thursday June 3rd Corpus Christi
12.15pm Sung Mass, Oxford Oratory
6pm Low Mass, SS Gregory & Augustine

Friday June 4th St Francis Caracciolo (First Friday)
pm, Low Mass, SS Gregory & Augustine

Friday June 11th
Sacred Heart
12.15pm Low Mass, Oxford Oratory
6pm Sung Mass, SS Gregory & Augustine

Tuesday June 29th
SS Peter & Paul
12.15pm, Low Mass, Oxford Oratory

Thursday 27 May 2010

State Opening of Parliament images

I was unable to watch the State Opening of Parliament on television asI had planned, so I have been dependent of still images of its ceremonial. As I understand it the ceremony as it is today is essentially as codified in the reign of King Henry VIII, though clearly much of the ceremonial is considerably more ancient, and with later accretions - such as judicial wigs and with uniforms taking their design from the early nineteenth century.

It was King Henry VIII who observed that "We are at no time so high in our estate royal as in time of Parliament." Although he is a monarch with whom I would not always agree - and it is a safe enough distance in time to admit to disagreeing with him - in this case he was, barring the Coronation itself, right.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II makes her ...

The Queen speaks during her address to the ...

I did not realise until I read David Starkey's Monarchy that it has only been since 1913 that the Sovereign, once they have been crowned, has consistently worn the Imperial State Crown at the State Opening. I think Queen Victoria did in the 1850s, but in her widowhood on the few occasions she opened Parliament in person wore her small dress crown, and the Imperial State Crown was carried before her. This appears to have been the practice under King Edward VII, and it was King George V who began the modern practice of wearing the Crown to deliver the Gracious Speech. This would appear to have been part of thta process of enhancing the ceremonial surrounding the monarchy that began under his father, but which developed after 1910 with the revived Welsh Investiture and the presence of the King-Emperor at his Indian Durbar, complete with crown following on from the 1911 Coronation. Starkey says that the King found the crown uncomfortable and at various times during his reign adjustments were made to it to make it easier to wear.

The Imperial State Crown was remade for the present Queen, reverting to its original 1838 design with lower arches - they had been raised in the 1870s. I have seen a story of an ADC remembering seeing the Queen wearing the crown whilst eating her breakfast on the day of the State Opening so as to get used to balancing its three and a half pound weight on her head.

The Queen walks through the Royal Gallery ...

This view shows the back of the Imperial State Crown, and in particular the so-called Stuart sapphire in the circlet. This is said to have been confiscated by King Edward IV from Warwick the Kingmaker's brother Archbishop George Neville of York in the 1470s - it had decorated the archiepiscopal mitre - and to have been taken by King James II and VII in his pocket with him into exile in 1688. Bequeathed by his grandson Cardinal York (de jure King Henry IX) to King George III in 1807 it was set in the new crown in 1838 under the Black Prince's ruby in the front of the circlet, but was moved at King Edward VII's request to its present position to accommodate the second part of the Cullinan diamond in 1907.


Saturday May 29th is, of course, the 350th anniversary of the Restoration of the Monarchy when King Charles II entered London, in the twelfth year of his reign. I am indebted to the Australian Radical Royalist for some of this piece, and the images of the commemorative coin. The fact that it is being issued is an improvement on what happened fifty years ago, when so far as I recall it the anniversary passed unmarked.

Following General Monck's march on London and the collapse of what remained of the regicide regime amidst popular calls for a free Parliament the Long Parliament having finally agreed to dissolve itself - it had gained the power not to be dissolved without its own consent ( does that sound at all familiar at the moment? ) the new, so-called Convention Parliament assembled on 25th April 1660, and soon afterwards received news of the Declaration of Breda in which Charles II indicated the moderate basis upon which the Restoration could be based. The English Parliament resolved to proclaim Charles King and invite him to return, which message reached Charles at Breda on 8th May 1660. The King landed at Dover and travelled to London which he entered in state on May 29th, his thirtieth birthday.

The Convention Parliament was dissolved in December 1660, and King Charles was crowned in Westminster Abbey on 23th April 1661.

I stress that fact that Charles II was in his twelfth year as King for two reasons. Firstly that is the legal point established in 1660 - he had been the lawful King of England since his father's death in 1649, and in Scotland he had been crowned in 1651.
The other reason is that in my home town of Pontefract the castle was held by a royalist garrison in January 1649 who were under siege from Parliamentarian forces. Upon hearing of the regiicide they proclaimed Charles II as King, and produced siege coins in his name, and with the inscription Post Mortem Patris Pro Filio which subsequently became the motto on the arms of the borough of Pontefract.

Wednesday 26 May 2010

St Philip's Day

Today is St Philip's Day, an occasion to give thanks for the life and inspiration of St Philip Neri, and also for his continuing intercession for his extended Oratorian family. It is also a day on which to give thanks for all the Oratories throughout the world and to pray for their members, both clerical and lay external members.

Our Lady and St Philip by Tiepolo

Here in Oxford we began our celebrations with Solemn Vespers and Benediction last night, followed by blessing with a relic of St Philip. This evening there will be a Solemn Mass, with Fr Ian Ker as preacher.

St Philip pray for us all

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Pentecost Vigil at Blackfriars

Last Saturday evening I attended the Pentecost Vigil celebrated at the Dominican Priory of the Holy Spirit here in Oxford - Blackfriars in less formal parlance. This is of course their patronal festival, and the Vigil was a new initiative. Provided for under the 2008 provisions, it was a move towards a return to a feature of liturgical practice that disappeared from the Missal in 1955.
For what was done before and in 1955 there is this piece from the New Liturgical Movement.

Pentecost Vigil 2010

Saturday evening's liturgy was novus ordo, and used the vernacular for much of the celebration, but also used distinctively Dominican chant forms. It followed what is, I understand, a Dominican format of incorporating the celebration of Mass into Vespers. Personally I found that unusual, and perhaps not ideal. However the fact that the Vigil was being observed was, I think, more important than the specific format.

First Vespers was celebrated with its psalms, followed by the Kyries, four Prophetic readings suitable to Pentecost (rather than repeating the Easter ones) with collects, Epistle, Gospel, homily, the Canon - EP I - and then a reversion to Vespers with the Magnificat and concluding prayers and dismissal.

This was, then, a new liturgy rather than a restoration - for example, lights were carried at the Gospel unlike the traditional practice. As Blackfriars is not a parish church there is no font, so there was no blessing of that. Considerable effort had been put into the music and the Priory church was suitably decorated for the Feast - including tapers burning before the Consecration Crosses - and there were some fine red vestments in use.

The service book had a pertinent quotation from the Pope about the need to take time to listen to the record of the Holy Spirit's action in Salvation history if we are to avoid relegating Pentecost to a mere observance.

Although my own preference would be either for the pre-1955 rite or a reworking closer to it, I was impressed by the liturgy. There was a sense of occasion and new beginning, not just the end of the Easter season, a sense that this was a special time of preparation for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Talking to members of the Community afterwards it was clear that they hope to establish this as part of their annual liturgical observance, and they are to be encouraged in that. It was a format that many parishes could copy, with genuine spiritual benefits for those attending. In a parish church the blessing of the waters of baptism would be practicable as well as of sacramental and symbolic value. I found it a valuable preparation for Pentecost Sunday, and I am sure others did as well.

My own inclination would, as I have suggested, be to go for something closer to the older forms, but this was a 'Reform of the Reform' and very welcome in what it achieved.

And, yes, of course, I want to see the restoration of the Pentecost Octave...

Monday 24 May 2010

Signing up to the Society of St Tarcisius

I have now signed up to the new Society of St Tarcisius which I mentioned the other day. I understand there has already been a good response not only from this country but also from further afield. It is good to know that friends from here in Oxford and Brighton have been amongst the first to show support for this initiative, and in the latter case to have already formed a local branch.

I very much hope that it draws in a lively and serious membership of those keen to promote celebration in the Extraordinary Form and who are also keen to develop their practical skills as servers alongside their own spiritual growth and understanding. Anyone who is interested is warmly encouraged to contact the Secretary.

The Society has both a website,
Society of St Tarcisius and a blog, Society of St Tarcisius blog. For future reference both are listed on the side bar.

Friday 21 May 2010

Replying to Cornwell on Newman

I had missed until today two excellent replies from Fr Tim of Hermeneutic of Continuity to John Cornwell's piece on Newman, about which I commented the other day.

In case you have not seen them I am putting in a link to each.
The first deals with
Newman and conscience , and the second with the comments in an address in 1991 of the then Cardinal Ratzinger on conscience.

Both are well worth reading, and contain useful ammunition with which to reply to critics.

Oxford Pro-Life Witness

I have received this message from the Organiser. Unfortunately I am again unable to attend , but I am happy to draw it to the attention of those who might be interested in joining in.


3PM- 4PM

We meet at the Church of St Anthony of Padua, Headley Way, Oxford
The entrance to the John Radcliffe Hospital is right in front of the church

We witness there for one hour
Please join us to pray for all unborn babies, their mothers and fathers and all doctors and nurses involved with the evil of abortion

Our Rosary is faithfully led by Fr John Saward

There is Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament inside the church for the full hour ending with a short service of Benediction

Refreshments available afterwards inside the church hall

If you are unable to join us - please remember all the unborn in your prayers at this time

Thank you and God bless!
Information: Tel. 01869 600638

Thursday 20 May 2010

St Bernardine

Today is the feast of St Bernardine (or Bernardino) of Siena (1380-1444), the Franciscan preacher who promoted devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. There is more about him here and here.

I became more aware of him as a result of my reading about the world in which Bishop Fleming moved - indeed it is not impossible that their paths crossed when Fleming as in Italy in 1418-20 and 1423-24.

In some ways his preaching and call to conversion made him not unlke St Philip Neri - indeed both represent a tradition to be found in medieval and early modern Italy that had fewer representitives in England - and then they were usually heretic, Lollard preachers or their successors.

His promotion of the Name of Jesus either inspired or was part of a devotion which certainly spread to England by the late fifteenth century. Thus Archbishop Thomas Scott or Rotherham founded the Jesus College in the church of his native town of Rotherham at that time.

Here in Oxford one of the devotional images Bernardine used as visual aids and which he used to distribute - an IHS in a sunburst of rays - survives in the Oratory collection of relics, whilst at the Christ Church Gallery one of my favourite paintings is one by Sano di Pietro of Our Lady and the Christ Child surrounded with saints, including Bernardine and Catherine of Siena. Although at first sight it would appear that this must date from after Bernardine's canonisation in 1450, as he is shown with a halo, upon close examination it can be seen that the halo is slightly smaller than those on the other saints, and is painted over the rays indicating a beatus, which originally indicated Bernardine's status. The painting can therefore be dated to the years 1444 to 1450. Such up-dating of images can be seen in other fifteenth century Italian paintings. In any case to my mind this is a particularly appealing piece.

St Peter of Morrone - Pope Celestine V

May 19th is also the feast day of St Peter of Morrone, who was briefly, in 1294, Pope Celestine V, and who died in 1296. The hermit Peter of the Morrone founded the Benedictine congregation of the Celestines. He became Pope as Celestine V in 1294 and abdicated within a year. His successor, Boniface VIII, imprisoned him in a castle in southern Lazio. Peter was canonized in 1313. This may have been in part, and not withstanding Peter's personal sanctity, part of the reaction against Boniface VIII following his death in 1303 at the height of his quarrel with Philip IV of France.There is more about Peter-Celestine here from Wikipedia and here from the Catholic Encyclopaedia.

Here is a view of the castle of Fumone (near Alatri and Ferentino) where after his abdication Peter resided as Boniface's "guest".
This is the Italia nell'Arte Medievale page (views expandable) on the church of Santa Maria di Collemaggio at L'Aquila in Abruzzo, said to have been begun at Peter's behest in 1287 and his resting place since 1327, when most of his remains were surreptitiously brought from Ferentino to L'Aquila (Peter's heart is said still to remain at Ferentino in its chiesa di Santa Chiara).
Peter's tomb in that church is here and his effigy reliquary in the tomb is shown here, and here, and here. Peter's skull exhibits a rectangular hole in the left forehead that has provoked some suspicion about the manner of Peter's end; there is another photograph here.

The views of Santa Maria di Collemaggio were taken before the terrific earthquake of April 6th 2009 in which the church was seriously damaged. There are four pages of recent views beginning

Thanks perhaps to the power of the saint, his tomb survived undamaged.
In the weeks after the earthquake the present Pope visited L'Aquila on April 28th last year.
As the Zenit website said:
Benedict XVI next travelled to the Collemaggio Basilica in L'Aquila, where he prayed in front of the casket with the remains of Pope St. Celestine V. To emphasize his spiritual solidarity, the Pontiff left there the pallium which he received at the beginning of his pontificate.
One might be cynical and think that was a decent way of disposing of it, but then one might not...

The New Liturgical Movement website had these pictures - one of the rare occssions when you will see two Popes together in a photograph - note for pedants, not just those of cardinals who became Pope later- that does not count:

To mark the 800th anniversary of Peter's birth in 1209 Pope Benedict has proclaimed the Celestine Year from August 28th 2009 to August 29 2010.

Here is a view of a late thirteenth- or early fourteenth-century fountain, said to have been erected in Peter's honour, in Isernia in Molise (Isernia is one of the candidates for the distinction of being Peter's birthplace):

This page offers a greatly enlargeable view of
Peter's portrait (before 1375) formerly in the abbey of Santa Maria at Casaluce (CE) in Campania and now in the cappella di Santa Barbara in the Castel Nuovo in Naples:

Based again on John Dillon's posting on the Medieval Religion discussion group, with my own additions of the visit of the present Pope last year.

St Dunstan addenda

I have based this on John Dillon's posting on the Medieval Religion discussion group.

Dunstan's cult commenced almost immediately after his death; his first Vita (BHL 2342) was already in existence in 1004.
An expandable view of the tenth-century drawing of Dunstan prostrating himself before Christ, which I used yesterday, is
This is from fol.1r of Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Auct. F. 4. 32.
This is a composite manuscript known as Dunstan's Classbook as much of it can be connected with Dunstan's teaching activity at Glastonbury. The two-line prayer
Dunstanum memet clemens, rogo, Christe, tuere / Tenarias me non sinas sorbsisse procellas ('I beseech you, kind Christ, to protect me, Dunstan. Do not permit the storms of Hell to suck me in.') is almost certainly of Dunstan's own composition. An online facsimile of the manuscript is here, and there is a fuller account of it than the one linked to from the facsimile  here:

There are two views of St Dunstan's Church, Canterbury, the first to be dedicated to him, although it has been rebuilt since, and now contains the head of St Thomas More which was buried there with Margaret Roper, 
here and here. There is a page on St Dunstan's Church, Mayfield in East Sussex  here.

In(ter)dependence Week in July

As part of the Reaffirmation and Renewal Campaign of the Oxford Oratory there will be a week of events celebrating Americans in Oxford from July 3rd to July 9th. It is, I hasten to add, open to all nationalities!

This is to give advance note to anyone who might be interested in coming to any, or indeed, all, of the events.

As you will see I am giving two tours on different themes of the history of Oxford, but I am not promoting the event out of vanity - it is all in aid of a very good cause.

Saturday July 3 12-5pm A Summer festival at The Perch, Binsey
Live music for all ages, with Cajun swing band L'Angelus from 3pm.
Purchase a £5 pass for discounts on food and drink, and entry into a prize draw.
For those of you who do not know Binsey it lies to the weat of Oxford, and can be reached by walking across Port Meadow, or by road from Botley Road.

Sunday July 4 11am Solemn Mass at The Oratory with music by American composers
Preacher: Fr Joel Warden of the Brooklyn Oratory.

Monday July 5 8 pm Adventures in the New World
Adam Brakel and the International Baroque Players in an exclusive concert at the Oratory.
Tickets £12 ( £8 concessions ). Available online at www.ticketless music.com

Tuesday July 6 2-4 pm The Medieval and Reformation Eras: Oxford Town and Gown
Oxford History Tour with John Whitehead
with tea at 4pm. Tickets £12 (£8 concessions) or £20 (£12) for both tours

Wednesday July 7 8pm An American Remembers C.S.Lewis
A talk by Walter Hooper, Lewis' last secretary, at the Oxford Oratory. Tickets £5.

Thursday July 8 2-4 pm From John Henry Newman to the Inklings: Oxford Culture
Oxford History Tour with John Whitehead
finishing with a tour and hitory of the Oxford Oratory, and tea at 4pm.
Tickets £12 (£8 concessions) or £20 (£12) for both tours.

Friday July 9 Finale: Dinner at Harris Manchester College
with after-dinner speaker Fr Richard Duffield, Cong.Orat., Provost of the Birmingham Oratory and Actor for Newman's cause. Tickets £75, apply via order form.

Tickets and passes for all events available in The Porter's Lodge of the Oxford Oratory
25, Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6HA
Tickets can be reserved by e-mailing: campaign@oxford-oratory.org.uk
or by telephone 01865 315800

The Oratory can only accept cash or cheque payments.
Concessionary rates are considered a matter of conscience.
Ticket price for the Concert and Talk include a £1 subscription fee to the Social Club, to permit the purchase of beverages in the Parish Centre

Wednesday 19 May 2010

St Dunstan

Today is the feast of St Dunstan, Abbot of Glastonbury and Archbishop of Canterbury, who died on this day in 988. He was one of the dominant figures of the tenth century and the alliance of the Englsih Crown with the Catholic Church that created a vibrant and fertile tradition in both the ecclesial and secular world. Not least amongst his achievements is the creation of the ordo for the coronation of King Edgar at Bath in 973, usually regarded as the basis of all subsequent English Coronation rites down to that of the present Queen in 1953. 

A self-portrait of St Dunstan. 
Detail from the Glastonbury Classbook.
The MS is in the Bodleian Library.
There is a biography of him here . 
In 1988, back in my Anglo-Catholic days, I was able to attend part of the milleniary celebrations of St Dunstan at Glastonbury. The high point was the visit of Archbishop Runcie to celebrate at the Pilgrimage in honour of his great predecessor, and it was a suitably splendid occasion, with a sense of history. 
Which links me to a point raised by Fr Hunwicke on his blog, as to how St Dunstan fits with the concept of an Anglican patrimony that can be exercised under Anglicanorum coetibus. The fine tuning of that point I will leave to others, indeed those qualified to comment from their own personal experience - I am neither in orders, nor married - but St Dunstan is unquestionably part of the wider patrimony of Catholic and Anglo-Catholic England, and that fact cannot be ignored. St Dunstan typifies that partnership of Church and Crown that underlay the tenth century English achievement, and that of subsequent centuries. It was not infrequently a tense relationship, and it had one or two spectacular explosions, but until Henry VIII seized power over the Church it served both parties and the realm well. If the Anglo-Catholic claim to continuity, and indeed a patrimony, anterior to 1533 is to be made it clearly must include St Dunstan, and thereby all that is indicated by that. In such a situation, and with all respect clerical marriage is an adiaphora. St Dunstan may not have liked it, but it took another couple of centuries to deal with the issue. In the wider cause of the unity of Christ's church it can be assimilated and resolved - it should not be a stumbling block.

Monday 17 May 2010

EF Serving Master class

Although I was unable to attend I am assured that the serving Master  class for the Extraordinary Form last Saturday at Blackfriars in Oxford went well. Not only was it well attended and well conducted, but it also had the great benefit of developing contacts between like-minded people. 2010 05 15_6002There is an illustrated account here from Dr Joe Shaw, from which I have copied one of the photographs, and also here from one of the tutors, fr. Lawrence Lew on NLM as well as on Libera me. The Society of St Tarcisius which was inaugurated at the training day has its own website, Society of St Tarcisius.
This seems in itself to be an excellent idea, and a group to which I will hope to be admitted as a member.

Saturday 15 May 2010

Motus Septentrionalis

I have copied this directly from Fr Tim's Hermeneutic of Continuity blog as I thought it might well interest those in my home area, or anyone going up North. I have added a link to the site to the bloglist.

New blog - Motus Septentrionalis
A priest friend just emailed me news of a new blog
Motus Septentrionalis ("Northern Movement") to promote the traditional liturgy in the North of England. Here is the introductory text:

" This blog is offered as a forum within which events to promote and celebrate the Traditional Catholic Latin Liturgy can be organised in the North of England. The idea emerged during informal conversations at the 2010 Low Week Latin Mass Society training course at Ushaw College. "

Catholics who wish to attend the traditional liturgy are much better off if they are in easy reach of London, though it is good to see at Motus Septentrionalis a growing list of regular Masses in the North.

Friday 14 May 2010

Cluniacs in Scotland

Dom Donald at Nunraw has copied my post on Cluny on his blog, and I will repay the compliment by circulating his post on Scottish Cluniac houses.

Cluniac 11th Centenary

Celebrating Scotland ’s place in Europe ’s Cluniac heritage on the 1,100th anniversary of the founding of the Abbey of Cluny, Burgundy.

The Programme

14th - 16th May, 2010

Craft Fair, Medieval Fair,

Children’s bowling competition,

Concerts, Coach tours, Exhibitions,

Conference, Historic re-enactments

Paisley Abbey

Paisley Abbey was founded in 1163 by Walter FitzAlan, an Anglo-Breton who brought monks to establish the community around the shrine to a local saint, St. Mirin. (St. Mirren – Scottish Football League).

For more information…

Saturday 15th May: Concert with organ and choir The glorious interior of Paisley Abbey will be the backdrop for a concert with a strong French theme.

Sunday 16th May: Service

Morning Service for Ascensiontide celebrating Cluny 2010

Guest Preacher
The Right Reverend Philip Tartaglia Roman Catholic Bishop of Paisley

Choral Music to include:
Te Deum (Howells – Collegium Regale)
God is gone up Finzi


Historical Background

In 909 or 910, William the Pious, Duke of Aquitaine, founded a Benedictine abbey at Cluny in Burgundy . Two hundred and fifty years later the abbey was at the head of some 1,400 Cluniac establishments in France , Italy , Germany , Switzerland , Spain , Portugal , Belgium , England and Scotland .

For anyone interested in the history of Europe , the work of the Cluniacs cannot be overlooked. Their values remain relevant today: actions to promote peace, caring for the socially deprived and excluded, a sense of beauty. Varied architecture, a distinctive musical form, sculptures and paintings all form part of the fabulous heritage handed down to us by the monks.

La Fédération des Sites Clunisiens (Federation of Cluniac Sites) was founded in 1994 with a threefold objective: to forge close links between sites, enhance their Cluniac heritage and support their initiatives through action in the fields of education, culture and tourism. Several hundred people – elected representatives and private owners, cultural and tourism associations – are actively involved in the pursuit of these objectives. The Federation gives its backing to all their activities with the help of an international patronage committee bringing together researchers, archaeologists and historians. The Cluniac sites belonging to the Federation have now been organised into trans-regional and transnational itineraries.

As a result, a new European cultural and tourist network is growing, following in the footsteps of the monks of Cluny . Scotland ’s two sites, Paisley , founded in 1163 and Crossraguel in Ayrshire, founded c.1250, will be the focus of Scottish celebrations.

Today, Paisley Abbey is a living Christian community in the cherishing care of the Church of Scotland.

Crossraguel Abbey which was the last monastery to survive the Reformation of 1560 (the last monk died in 1601), is in the scrupulous care of Historic Scotland.


On Tuesday we celebrated the Mass in Memory of the Holy Abbots of Cluny.
It is the eleventh centenary of the foundation and this year is marked by plentiful historical studies, Internet Links, and memorial events, not only of Cluny itself in Burguny, but of Cluniac sites over Europe.
In Scotland, Paisley Abbey is the main centre of celebrations.

May 11th.

Night Office Reading

Abbot Berno, together with the Duke of Aquitaine, founded Cluny on

  • 11th September 909. Within several decades it was in a flourishing condition. It was a monastery where monastic ideals were held in esteem and where the observance was good; a solitude where a monk could seek God and find God in prayer, penance and study. Such a house was rare indeed in the decadent years of the 'early tenth century, when monastic discipline had all but disappeared.

  • An important factor in the growth of Cluny was that it was ruled during its first two centuries by a succession of great abbots. These men were both saints and administrators; they shaped the destiny of their house with wisdom and prudence. Five of them stand out in bold relief: Odo, Mayeul, Odilo, Hugh and Peter the Venerable. Odo gave the house its spiritual character, his dynamic personality established the course it was to take. Before he died he appointed an abbot-coadjutor to help him in his duties; this was Aynard, who was duly elected abbot after Odo'sdeath. There was precedent for this, for Odo himself had been appointed by Berno a little before he died. Aynard in his turn appointedMayeul to be coadjutor and his successor with the approval of the community. Mayeul nominatedOdilo to succeed him. Odilo died without appointing a successor and Hugh, his prior for some years, was elected by the community, thus bringing to an end a practice which, although directly counter to theRule of St. Benedict, gave Cluny a succession of outstanding spiritual leaders. Hugh was to rule for sixty years. After a lapse of thirteen years, during which Pons was abbot followed by Hugh II, the community elected Peter the Venerable, who was a worthy successor of Hugh I. He united both the spiritual leadership and the outstanding human qualities of his predecessors. He ruled as abbot from 1122-1156.

  • Cluny was still a flourishing community after the time of Peter the Venerable in the second half of the twelfth century. To the abiding value of its monastic ideal and its way of life at that time we could scarcely find a more impartial or more appreciative witness than the Carthusian monk-Bishop, St.Hugh of Lincoln . His biographer Adam tells us that, after the Carthusians, the monks of Cluny were the dearest to him because they cultivated the silent life of the cloister and turned their busy leisure to spiritual profit.
    When in old age he visited Cluny in 1200, he was struck by the good Order that reigned there in the choir, in the cloister and in the refectory. He was admitted to share their life in community for three days, to celebrate Mass and before he left he said to the Abbot: ‘
    Truly, if I had seen this place before I fell in love with the Carthusians, I should have become a monk of Cluny .