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.

Thursday, 31 March 2011


I see that maniples are making news on the blogs - when are they not I am tempted to say.

Fr Blake writes about the latest discussion, with a link to Fr Zuhlsdorf, here and Fr Hunwicke writes from his experience about the fate of some maniples here.

There are articles on the vestment and its history here and here.


Regular readers will not be surprised that I am a firm believer in the use of maniples, and cannot understand any good reason for their being made optional and hence abandoned in the sacristy. They are an ancient and intrinsic part of the priestly vesture, and excuses about them being inconvenient to wear really cut no ice, or for that matter, butter.

Let us hope priests start wearing, as I know some do, the maniple when celebrating the Ordinary Form. When the then Bishop of Ebbsfleet came to St Thomas' here in Oxford for a Confirmation in 2004 we put out a maniple which he wore, and he cited the case of Victorian ritualists who went to prison for using such liturgical vesture.

Maybe we should decorate sacristy doors with the slogan "No maniple, No Mass" or Fr Z's "Tie one on." Perhaps one could adapt one of those nauseating pictures of a kitten clutching a tree branch and bearing the words "Help me to hold on Lord", beloved of a certain type of wet liberal cleric, to one with "Every time a priest celebrates Mass without a maniple God kills a kitten."

Years ago, in my Anglican days in Yorkshire, the curate, who was of advanced Modern Catholic Views - i.e exclusively Novus Ordo adapted more or less to Anglican forms - opined in the sacristy that, and I quote him exactly, "A maniple is a pain in the a**e." I was sorely tempted to voice the opinion "Well, if you will wear it round there Father it probably is", but I thought better of antagonising a former serviceman on such a clearly sensitive issue.


Mulier Fortis said...

At the risk of encouraging hate mail, I would just like to point out that Catzinger, my late kitten, died on the one day that His Hermeneuticalness celebrated Mass (in Rome) without a maniple. 'Nuff said...

Last Knight said...

We at the Noise understand that this post has been well received at the Tat Cave, where Maniple Man has just put up one of the kitten posters suggested by your Lordship. Trust you to be nauseated by a kitten. Oh, and happy anniversary, John.