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.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Understanding the Roman Canon

For part of the Forty Hours I was reading Hugh Ross Williamson's The Great Prayer. Published in 1955, when he was still an Anglican clergyman, it is a study of text of the Roman canon of the Mass. The following year he was received as a Catholic and the book may in part reflect the thoughts that led him to that decision. It has now been reissued by Gracewing with a new commendatory introduction by Bishop Alan Hopes and costs £9.99. There is a review from The Anglo Catholic which can be read here

Like that reviewer I would recommend the book to anyone interested as both a liturgical and historical introduction and as a book for spiritual reflection.

With the new translation of the Missal coming into use it is an excellent guide to this venerable prayer. The author stresses that this was the Mass text used by St Augustine in the first Mass he celebrated in this country on his mission of 597 - when he wrote it was no doubt an attempt to call Anglicans back to their patrimony. Now his book can serve to call Catholics back to their patrimony in this beautiful prayer which binds the Church together accross the centuries.

1 comment:

davidforster said...

You know that Hugh Ross Williamson later wrote a pamphlet called "The Great Betrayal" - almost certainly paralleling the title of his earlier work?

His later pamphlet was written in 1970. I'll let you infer what its subject matter was.