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.

Saturday 30 July 2016

A tenth century Massacre in Bohemia

The Times today has an article based on an article in the Cambridge based journal Antiquity issue from June about more evidence of conflict in the Bohemia of St Wenceslaus. The article, by Ivo Štefan, Petra Stránská and Hana Vondrová, can be accessed at

Monday 25 July 2016

Santiago de Compostella

Today is the feast of St James the Great, the patron saint of Spain, and with his great shrine church at Santiago de Compostella.


St James the Moor Slayer

Image: breviary.net 


Santiago de Compostella

Image: us-mg42.mail

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

Image: breviary.net

A friend from the Oxford Oratory has been walking the Pilgrimage route, El Camino, for several weeks. For Daniel this is more than the usual test of endurance - he always has to walk with crutches.
He arrived his on crutches there yesterday and sent the following message to his friends:

" I arrived in Santiago this afternoon, have paid my respects to the Apostle, said my prayers and am now eating Lemon and Orujo Sorbet and having a beer (Estrella de Galicia, of course) in the cafeteria of the Hotel Reyes Catholicos."

A great achievement on his part. Happy feast day to him and all other pilgrims to St James

Sunday 24 July 2016

St Christina of Bolsena

Today, were it not a Sunday this year, would be the feast of St Christina of Bolsena.

Phyllis Jestice posted about her cult on the Medieval Religion discussion group in 2004 and 2008 as follows:

Christina of Bolsena (3rd cent.) The Roman Christina converted to Christianity while still a girl throught the influence of her grandmother. Legend says that she then went around her parents' house destroying all the cult images, and when her father reacted by throwing her into Lake Bolsena with a rock tied around her neck she was miraculously saved from drowning. She then---legend goes on to report---had her tongue cut out and survived five days in a furnace, after which she was finally killed with arrows.

Christina of Tyre (?) This Christina's legend seems to be mixed up with that of Christina of Bolsena. She was a young girl, imprisoned for her Christianity, tortured extravagantly---a fire was lit under her but got out of control and burned 100s of people to death; her breasts were cut off and milk flowed from them; her tongue was cut out but she spoke even more clearly than before and when she threw her tongue at the judge he lost the sight of an eye; best of all, when she was thrown into the sea she was baptized by Christ and returned to land by the archangel Michael.

The Wikipedia entry about her can be seen at Christina of Bolsena

This year John Dillon has posted the following piece on the Medieval Religion discussion group:

Christina (variously called "of Tyre" or "of Bolsena") is a martyr of the Via Cassia venerated at today's Bolsena (VT) in the Tuscia section of Lazio in what was once southern Etruria.  Her cult there is attested archeologically from the later fourth century onward and a saint of her name appears among the overwhelmingly Western virgin martyrs in the restored later sixth-century mosaics (ca. 560) in the nave of the basilica di Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna.

Christina has similar, legendary Passiones both in Greek and in Latin (BHG 301, 302; BHL 1749-1759); their narrative core is thought to be an expansion of Eusebius of Caesarea's account of the Theodosia of his De martyribus Palaestinae.  The Greek ones, whose oldest known representative is a papyrus fragment of the fifth or early sixth century, make her a martyr of Tyre in Phoenicia, as do also her entry in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology and her earlier Latin Passiones.  Apart from these texts there's no ancient indication of Christina's having had a cult at Tyre.  The earlier Passiones present her as a young virgin of Christian faith who refuses to sacrifice to idols set before her by her pagan father (a high public official) and who then undergoes a series of ineffective tortures before being slain by the sword.

The ninth-century martyrologies of St. Ado of Vienne and Usuard of Saint-Germain place Christina's martyrdom at Tyre, a city of Italy; Ado specifies that this is situated at the Lake of Bolsena.  Christina's later Latin Passiones also specify an Italian locale.  These convert an episode in which in earlier texts she is thrown into the sea with a millstone tied to her neck (she survives and is baptized by Christ) into one in which she is instead cast into the Lake of Bolsena.  After various torments she is shot to death with arrows.  How her earlier dossier came to specify Tyre is a mystery; possibly an adjective _Tyrrhena_ ("Etruscan") in a now lost early Passio got corrupted into something that was copied as _Tyria_ ("Tyrian").

A literarily noteworthy Latin Passio of Christina is that by Alfanus of Salerno (BHL 1759; eleventh-century).  Aldhelm has a much briefer version in his prose De laude virginitatis.  Sherry Reames' introduction to her TEAMS edition of William Paris' late fourteenth-century Life of St Christina is here:
And her text of that Life is here:

Christina's cult site at Bolsena's basilica di Santa Cristina developed from a late antique martyrium in a subterranean Christian necropolis into the eleventh- and twelfth-century hypogean basilica shown here and called the Grotta di Santa Cristina:
Early medieval pilgrim itineraries and historical notices attest to the fame of this spot.  Before the apse is Christina's rather grand late antique tomb.  When it was opened in 1880 it was found to contain a fourth(?)-century funerary urn of marble bearing the tenth- or eleventh-century inscription †I·RQES/CP·BAT·X·M
Human bones said to have come from someone not above fourteen years of age were found in the urn and are now kept in a new, silver urn in a chapel in the upper church.  In the eleventh and twelfth centuries other relics said to be Christina's were translated to various places in Christendom.
A view of the adjacent fourth- and fifth-century catacomb:

Just outside the Grotta are an altar and ciborium from the Carolingian period.  Bolsena's Eucharistic Miracle of 1263 or 1264 is said to have occurred here:
The altar incorporates a piece of basalt said to have been used to weigh down the saint when she was thrown into the lake and piously believed to bear the imprint of her feet:

Christina is entered under today in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology, in the ninth-century martyrologies of St. Ado of Vienne and Usuard of Saint-Germain, and in the originally tenth-century Synaxary of Constantinople.  Today (24. July) is her feast day in Byzantine-rite churches and her day of commemoration in the Roman Martyrology.

Some period-pertinent images of St. Christina, virgin martyr:

a) as depicted (at far left) in the heavily restored originally later sixth-century mosaic procession of female martyrs (c. 561) in the nave of Ravenna's basilica di Sant'Apollinare Nuovo:

b) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Theodore of Amasea; at centre, St. Nicholas of Myra) in the tenth- and eleventh-century frescoes of the rupestrian chiesa di Santa Marina e Cristina at Carpignano Salentino (LE) in southern Apulia:
Detail views:

c) as depicted in an eleventh-century fresco in the cathedral of St. Sophia in Kyiv:

d) as depicted (martyrdom) in a late thirteenth-century copy of French origin of Jacopo da Varazze's Legenda aurea (San Marino, CA, Huntington Library, ms. HM 3027, fol. 81r):

e) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Juliana of Nicomedia) as depicted in the late thirteenth-century Livre d'images de Madame Marie (c. 1285-1290; Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 16251, fol. 102r):

f) as twice depicted (martyrdom scenes) in bas-de-page illuminations in the early fourteenth-century Queen Mary Psalter (c. 1310-1320; London, BL, Royal MS 2 B VII, fols. 256v, 257r):
1) thrown into the sea and rescued by angels (fol. 256v):
2) stabbed (fol. 257r):

g) as depicted (at lower right in the panel at lower left; martyrdom) in an earlier fourteenth-century pictorial menologion from Thessaloniki (between 1322 and 1340; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Gr. th. f. 1, fol. 48v):

h) as depicted (martyrdom) in an earlier fourteenth-century French-language legendary of Parisian origin with illuminations attributed to the Fauvel Master (c. 1327; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 183, fol. 92r):

i) as thrice depicted (martyrdom) in an earlier fourteenth-century copy of Vincent of Beauvais' Speculum historiale in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (c. 1335; Paris, BnF, ms. Arsenal 5080, fols. 246r-247r):
1) in prison (at right; at left, her mother; fol. 246r):
2) scourged (fol. 246v):
3) in a burning oven (fol. 247r):

j) as depicted in a mid-fourteenth-century copy, from the workshop of Richard and Jeanne de Montbaston, of the Legenda aurea in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (1348; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 241, fol. 168v):

k) as depicted (martyrdom) in the mid- to later fourteenth-century Breviary of King Charles V (betw. 1347 and 1380; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 1052, fol. 428v):

l) as depicted (martyrdom) in a late fourteenth- or early fifteenth-century copy of the Legenda aurea in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Rennes, Bibliothèque de Rennes Métropole, ms. 266, fol. 175v):

m) as depicted (at lower left in the central panel) by the Master of Saint Veronica in an early fifteenth-century triptych (c. 1410) in the Stiftung Heinz Kisters in Kreuzlingen (Kanton Thurgau):


n) as depicted (martyrdom) in the early fifteenth-century Châteauroux Breviary (c. 1414; Châteauroux, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 2, fol. 242v):

o) as depicted (martyrdom) in an early fifteenth-century copy of the Elsässische Legenda aurea (1419; Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek, Cod. Pal. germ. 144, fol. 29r):

p) as depicted in an earlier fifteenth-century fresco (c. 1425-1435) in the cloister of the cathedral of Bressanone / Brixen:


q) as depicted (martyrdom) by the court workshop of Frederick III in a mid-fifteenth-century copy of the Legenda aurea (1446-1447; Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, cod. 326, fol. 134r):

r) as depicted (martyrdom) in a later fifteenth-century copy of Vincent of Beauvais' Speculum historiale in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (1463; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 51, fol. 71r):

s) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Paul) by Sano di Pietro (d. 1481) in the lower right panel of an altarpiece in the basilica di Santa Caterina in Bolsena:


The altarpiece as a whole:

t) as depicted (martyrdom; at lower right, her mother) in a late fifteenth-century copy of the Legenda aurea in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (c. 1480-1490; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 244, fol. 207v):

u) as depicted (being baptized by Christ) in a late fifteenth-century Roman breviary (after 1482; Clermont-Ferrand, Bibliothèque du patrimoine, ms. 69, fol. 481v):

v) as depicted (left margin at top) in a hand-colored woodcut in the Beloit College copy of Hartmann Schedel's late fifteenth-century Weltchronik (Nuremberg Chronicle; 1493) at fol. CXXVIIv:

w) as portrayed in relief (martyrdom) by Benedetto Buglioni in three panels of the predella of his late fifteenth-century glazed terracotta tabernacle in the cappella del Santissimo Sacramento in the basilica di Santa Cristina at Bolsena:
1) in the burning oven:
2) tied to a tree:
2) shot with arrows:

x) as portrayed in relief (at left, flanking the BVM and Christ Child; at right, St. George of Lydda) in a late fifteenth-century glazed terracotta sculpture (c. 1495; attributed to Giovanni della Robbia) in the lunette over the main portal of the basilica di Santa Cristina in Bolsena:


y) as portrayed in a late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century recumbent sculpture of the saint in terracotta (?1496; ?c. 1503-1508; attributed to Benedetto Buglioni) surmounting her tomb in the Grotta di Santa Cristina in the basilica di Santa Cristina in Bolsena:

z) as depicted (at left; at center, the BVM and Christ Child; at right, St. Lucy) by Giovanni de' Ferrarris da Mondovì in a late fifteenth-century fresco (1498) in the cappella di Santa Lucia in the basilica di Santa Cristina in Bolsena:

aa) as depicted (at right; at left, St. John the Evangelist) in an early sixteenth-century glass roundel of southern Netherlandic origin (c. 1500-1510) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York:

bb) as depicted in an early sixteenth-century fresco (1506 or 1508), attributed to Giovanfrancesco d'Avanzarano, in the cappella del Santissimo Sacramento in the basilica di Santa Cristina at Bolsena:
Detail view:

cc) as depicted (central register at right, flanking the BVM and Christ Child) by Luca Signorelli in an early sixteenth-century panel painting of the Virgin with Saints (1515) in the National Gallery in London:


dd) as depicted (at upper left in the wing at right) by Joos van Cleve the Elder in an early sixteenth-century altarpiece (1515) in the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Köln [ A fascinating image that will not fit into my format - well worth looking at  - Clever Boy ]:

ee) as depicted by the Master of Georgenberg Legend of St. Anthony in a panel of an early sixteenth-century altarpiece (c. 1515-1520) in the church of St. Margaret in Mlynica (Okres Poprad), Slovakia:


ff) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Oliva) by Tommaso de Vigilia (attrib.) in a later fifteenth-century remounted fresco (c. 1470; from the chiesa di Santa Maria in Risalaimi, a locality of Misilmeri [PA] in Sicily) in the Galleria regionale di Sicilia in Palermo:

Back in 2008 another contributor to the group posted about the annual pageant of S. Cristina in Bolsena, which I assume originated as a medieval mystery play, as follows:

"At Bolsena Cristina's Passio is re-enacted annually (with hunky male torturers; in the developed legend she's said to have possessed great physical beauty). Views of one such pageant are at the foot of this page:
And here are others:

Now that really is a case of "Well, we don't do that at our church " and indeed might make even the most fervent supporters of reviving traditional paraliturgical practices think twice. Or perhaps not.

There is more about the history of this celebration at Santa Cristina - ItalyHeritage

Tuesday 19 July 2016

The latest finds from the Mary Rose

The Daily Telegraph has a report  "The real rose: Mary Rose ship emblem discovered, 500 years on" about the latest discoveries at the Mary Rose in Portsmouth and that the ship had had a refit. Read the full story

Coronation of King George IV

Thursday July 19th 1821 witnessed the Coronation of King George IV at Westminster. This spectacular occasion 195 years ago outdid all previous such ceremonies, and was the last at which there were the ceremonies in Westminster Hall, the procession thence to the Abbey and the great banquet afterwards - those were all done away with by King William IV for his coronation in 1831.


King George IV in his Coronation Robes
His new crown is at his side and he is wearing the collars of the Orders of the Golden Fleece, the Royal Guelphic Order, the Bath and the Garter

Portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence

Image: Wikipedia/Royal Collection Trust

There are pictures and more information about the day at Coronation of George IV

Cast of George IV's crown

 A cast of the crown of King George IV
The frame of the crown can now be seen at the Tower of London
There is more about the crown at Coronation Crown of George IV
Image: Royal Collection Trust

Image result for George IV Coronation

The crown when set with diamonds



 The Coronation Procession in 1821


Amongst the spectators who witnessed the procession to and from the Abbey was the twenty year old John Henry Newman who left his impressions of the spectacle, and especially of the jewels in the regalia - you might, he thought, be able to counterfeit the coloured precious stones, but not the flash and sparkle of diamonds.


 The Coronation Banquet in Westminster Hall
The King's Champion is entering the Hall on horseback to challenge any opponent of the King's title

Image: parliament.uk

Two of the chandeliers which were hanging in Westminster Hall that day are now here in Oxford, in a place Newman himself knew in those years, the Holywell Music Room.


The interior of the Holywell Music Room in Oxford

Image: conference-oxford.com 

Monday 18 July 2016

Spanish Civil War

Today is the 80th anniversary of the commencement of the Spanish Civil War in 1936.

One of the causes of the Nationalist uprising was the persecution of the Church after 1931. Tragically the Army rising led to even more atrocities against the clergy and faithful, especially in the north-east of the country.


Republican militia men desecrating a Madrid church in 1936

Image: es.wikipedia

For some background information on this terrible period in the history of the church in Spain see the following Wikipedia articles Red Terror (Spain), Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War and Catholicism in the Second Spanish Republic

New Catholic at RORATE CÆLI has a post about it at The Passion of Spain - 80th Anniversary
and there is an account of the terrible persecution the Church suffered at the hands of the Republicans at The Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War and the Repercussions ...

The message sent to the Spanish faithful by Pope Pius XII on April 14 1939 at the conclusion of the war can be read on Mundabor's blog at Pope Pius XII's Message After the Victory In Spain


  Image: Zenit

In addition to the issues surrounding the Church one can be thankful for the achievement of the Nationalist coalition ( for such it was ) in delivering and restoring the country's secular institutions - above all the monarchy, heritage and long-term freedom.


Sunday 17 July 2016

Our Lady of Oxford

From the Oxford Oratory website here is a piece, slightly adapted, about devotion to Our Lady of Oxford, a feast we observed today at St Aloysius:

" Our Lady of Oxford, venerated here under the title, "Mother of Mercy". In this Jubilee of Mercy, this devotion takes on a particular significance. There will be special prayers in honour of Our Lady of Oxford at the end of the eleven o'clock Mass.


The painting of Our Lady of Oxford 

In mediaeval Oxford there were many well-known images of Our Lady, including the one before which St Edmund of Abingdon made his vow of perpetual virginity, at the age of twelve, placing a gold ring on the statue's finger. Tragically, this and other signs of devotion to the Mother of God were destroyed by a later age and it was not until the nineteenth century, at the time of the 'Second Spring', that Our Lady of Oxford was to return. Hartwell de la Garde Grissell was an Oxford convert who became a Private Chamberlain and personal friend of Blessed Pope Pius IX. The Pope granted him indulgences for a painting of Our Lady as "Mother of Mercy". This picture, together with a large collection of relics and other treasures were installed in a private chapel, dedicated to Our Lady, on the High Street.

The devotion to the Mother of Mercy has its origins with the Order of Mercy (the Mercerdarians), who were founded in the thirteenth century for the special purpose of redeeming captives in the Holy Land. Mercerdarians and others would offer themselves as substitutes for those who were imprisoned. In England this work proved especially popular, and Mary was invoked under the title of "Our Lady of Ransom". Today, Our Lady of Ransom is still the patroness of our country, and is particularly associated with conversions to the Faith. The second line of the Salve Regina addresses Our Lady as the Mother of Mercy, reminding us that she is the Mother of all Christians, one to whom we may turn without fear in all our difficulties.

After Grissell's death in June 1907, he left his collection, with Our Lady of Oxford as the centrepiece, to St Aloysius' Church, on condition that a suitable chapel should be built. This relic chapel is where the image is venerated today, amid the bones of the martyrs who hid in the Roman catacombs and laid down their lives for Christ and His Church.

Pope Saint John Paul II spoke many times about the importance of the Mother of Mercy. In 1980 he said that because Mary has experienced the mystery of the Cross to a greater degree than anyone else, she 'is the one who has the deepest knowledge of the mystery of God's mercy. She knows its price, she knows how great it is. In this sense, we call her the Mother of Mercy'. In 1996, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, an enlarged copy of the picture of Our Lady of Oxford was taken to Rome, and in St Peter's Square, the Pope gave his blessing to this and many other representations of Our Lady from around the world. John Paul II had held up Mary as a model to all, and gave honour to Our Lady of Oxford, as did his predecessor Blessed Pius IX. On the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy in 2001, Cardinal Stafford, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, said Mass in our church and prayed at the shrine of Our Lady of Oxford.

That we can address Mary as Our Lady of Oxford, reminds us that although the Virgin's care and intercession is universal, she is also able to care for each one of us individually. To have her image set up in a particular place shows that she is not remote or unapproachable, but rather our Mother, whose love for each of us is intimate and personal. Today we need our Mother's prayers more than ever, and we know that in all our struggles and difficulties, she is there with her protecting mantle to shield us from all harm. When we are conscious of our own sinfulness and unworthiness, we need not hold back, for Mary is the Mother of Mercy, whose arms are always ready to receive us. Just as Christ was given to the world through Our Lady's acceptance of her vocation, so our way to heaven is through her. If we trust in Mary, we need have no fear, for a loving Mother will never abandon her children."

Merciful Father and God of all consolation, you have shown yourself to be wonderful in the glorious Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ, and have given her to us as the Mother of Mercy. May all of us who venerate her with devotion, always experience her powerful intercession, and enjoy your immense mercy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saturday 16 July 2016

Pope Innocent III

It was on July 16 1216, eight centuries ago, that Pope Innocent III died.

To mark the anniversary here are three contemporary or nearly contemporary images of the Pope and  some quotations from him.

Image result for Innocent III


At his consecration he said in his sermon

" Only Peter was given fullness of power. You see, then, who is placed in charge of the household: it is Jesus Christ's vicar, Peter's successor, the Lord's anointed, the Pharoah's god. I am placed between God and man, below God but above man; I am less than God but more than man; I am he who will judge all and be judged by none."
From The Catholic Encyclopaedia - Plenitudo potestates

Image result for Innocent III 


 The unmeasured assertion of his dignity, with the loudest protestations of humility, betrays the real spirit of the pope. Thus he spoke out: "Ye see what manner of servant that is whom the Lord hath set over His people; no other than the vice-gerent of Christ, the successor of St. Peter. He is the Lord's anointed; he stands in the midst between God and man; below God, above man; less than God, more than man. He judges all, he is judged by none, for it is written, 'I will judge.' But he whom the preeminence of dignity exalts, is lowered by his office of a servant that so humility may be exalted, and pride abased; for God is against the high-minded; and to the lowly he showeth mercy: and he who exalteth himself shall be abased."

Pope Innocent also discovers the Papacy in the Book of Genesis: "The firmament," he says, "signifies the church. As the Creator of all things hath set in the heavens two great lights, the greater to rule the day, the lesser to rule the night, so also hath He set up in the firmament of His church, two great powers: the greater to rule the souls, the lesser to rule the bodies of men. These powers are the pontifical and the royal: but the moon, as being the lesser body, borroweth all her light from the sun; she is inferior to the sun both in the quantity and quality of the light she sends forth, as also in her position and functions in the heavens. In like manner the royal power borrows all its dignity and splendor from the pontifical, so that the nearer it approaches the greater light, the more are its rays absorbed, and its borrowed glories eclipsed. It was moreover ordained that both these glories should have their fixed and final abode in this our land of Italy, inasmuch as in this land dwelleth, by and through the combined primacy, of the Empire and the priesthood, the entire foundation and structure of the Christian faith, and with it a predominant principality over both!"

Andrew Miller Church History : Chapter 24 [ Adapted]

Image result for Innocent III

Image: Alchetron

"We decree that no Christian shall use violence to compel the Jews to accept baptism. But if a Jew, of his own accord, because of a change in his faith, shall have taken refuge with Christians, after his wish has been made known, he may be made a Christian without any opposition. For anyone who has not of his own will sought Christian baptism cannot have the true Christian faith. No Christian shall do the Jews any personal injury, except in executing the judgments of a judge, or deprive them of their possessions, or change the rights and privileges which they have been accustomed to have. During the celebration of their festivals, no one shall disturb them by beating them with clubs or by throwing stones at them. No one shall compel them to render any services except those which they have been accustomed to render. And to prevent the baseness and avarice of wicked men we forbid anyone to deface or damage their cemeteries or to extort money from them by threatening to exhume the bodies of their dead...."

Fordham UP  Medieval Sourcebook: Innocent III:Letter on the Jews  Jan 1 1199

Friday 15 July 2016

St Bonaventure

Gordon Plumb drew the attention of readers of the Medieval Religion discussion group to an mage of St Bonaventure which is in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

Detail of Virgin and Child Enthroned with Franciscan and other saints by Vittore Crivelli (1465-1501/2), painted circa 1489, and which can be seen at

Here is another image of the saint  - who was nominated to the see of York but declined it - and also  by Vittore Crivelli, which will copy and download:

Vittore Crivelli - Saint Bonaventure.jpg


Tuesday 12 July 2016

Fr Blake and A Tale of Two Cardinals

Fr Ray Blake at Fr Ray Blake's Blog has the following post  Far be it for me to correct Cardinal Nichols but...

The full text of Cardinal Sarah's address can be seen at http://www.sacraliturgia.org/2016/07/robert-cardinal-sarah-towards-authentic.html

Meanwhile Zenit on July 13 had Press Office Clarifies Cardinal’s Remarks About Priest Facing East During Mass but then today there was a scathing piece from Richard Cipolla at RORATE CÆLI
which can be seen at  Contra Cardinal Sarah: The Bitter and Noxious Fruits of Ideology
Which simply makes me wonder just who IS calling the shots in the Vatican?

Monday 11 July 2016

May it be

The news today that Theresa May is to become leader of the Conservative Party, and thereby the new Prime Minister, issomething about which I feel cautiously optimistic.

Mrs May has inherited a formidibly significant number of problems in the wake of the Europe Referendum  but she is clearly vastly preferable to all the other contenders who put themselves forward for the post.

I could be wrong but I sense she is a more mainstream Conservative than her recent predecessors - not libertarian and not wet. She appears to be, in the proper sense a " One Nation Tory " - the closest to the Macmillan tradition since the 1960s.

Her background as the daughter of an Anglo-Catholic vicar from the Chichester and Oxford dioceses suggests a good formation - and she is still with her husband a regular, unshowy, churchgoer. She clearly has a pretty stiff moral backbone, and as Home Secretary unafraid of standing up to the Police Federation.

It looks hopeful, though , of course, as Enoch Powell famously ponted out, all political careers end in failure. For the moment however we can hope.

Saturday 9 July 2016

The Prince of Venice

The Daily Telegraph  has an article on a pizza van with a little extrafeature in Los Angeles, which I have copied:

" Italy's last prince is selling pasta from a California food truck 

The Prince of Venice
Emanuele Filiberto has named his pasta truck "The Prince of Venice"  
Credit: Facebook

The grandson of Italy's last king has launched a new business selling pasta from a food truck on the streets of Los Angeles.
Emanuele Filiberto, 44, is the only male heir of Italy's exiled king, Umberto II, who was forced to resign when the country became a Republic after World War II.
He decided to start his business, named “The Prince of Venice” after what would be his own title, when he saw how popular food trucks were on the streets in California.

The Prince of Venice
Credit: Facebook
“I came to Los Angeles six months ago for an event and I realized there were various Mexican and Asian food trucks around, “ the prince told Italian magazine, Chi, in an interview.
“I thought ‘why don’t I try it?’ With a food truck with fresh Italian pasta that is loved around the world.”
The “Prince of Venice” - a title which is not recognized by the Italian government - is splashed across the side of his food truck which is also painted in the royal blue colours of the House of Savoy, which ruled Italy from 1861.
Filiberto defends the move.
“There is nothing controversial about it, “ Filiberto said. “That title was given to me by my grandfather. Then there’s this outcry and the people behind it make you laugh. Let them go in exile for all those years.
“Then they say the prince does nothing – it’s not true. In my life I have always worked with passion and pleasure.”

Last Italian Prince
The Prince has had an eclectic public life
The prince grew up in Switzerland and only arrived in Italy in 2002 after a constitutional change allowed members of the exiled royal family to return to the country.
Before heading to Los Angeles he was often spotted on the red carpet and carved out a career as a TV personality appearing on Italy's 'Dancing with the Stars' and other TV shows.
In 2012 he starred in his own reality show “Il Principiante”, or “The Novice”, where the royal spent 10 episodes trying his hand at everyday jobs like bricklaying and pizza-making.
“I wanted to challenge myself with the lives that Italians do, so I asked the public: “Give me your ideas for work and I will come and work with you, putting myself to the test,” he said at the time.
In a somewhat embarrassing role for the blueblood, the prince also appeared in an advertisements for electronic cigarettes which promised to help users get 'more sex'.
The would-be heir, who was born in Geneva and is married with two children, says his new business is flourishing and he’s relishing the role.
He has hired a chef, Mirko Paderno, and sells dishes like fettucine with shrimp and clams or linguine with truffles for as little as $15.
“Americans like to eat quickly and have their lunch in a park or on a bench. I’m offering them a quality product.”
“The ‘Prince of Venice’ food truck has already become a phenomenon,” he added."

To this the Clever Boy will merely add the parallel to the Prince of Wales and his Duchy Originals etc


The Arms of the Savoyard Kings


Thursday 7 July 2016

Cardinal Sarah ad orientem

The New Liturgical Movement has a post by Matthew Hazell about a significant pronouncement from Cardinal Robert Sarah in London at Cardinal Sarah’s Inaugural Address at Sacra Liturgia UK

Also on this subject there is Fr Ray Blake at Fr Ray Blake's Blog with Towards the Lord: Important, Urgent and Necessary

Monday 4 July 2016

French church demolition

Following on from last week's shocking murder - indeed martyrdom - of Fr Jacques Hamel near Rouen a friend has sent me a link to other disturbing scenes in Parisian church. Not, mercifully, another murder in hatred of the Faith but violent scenes to expel those resisting the demolition of the church for redevelopment of the site as a car park.

The illustrated report can be read at here.

Pilgrimage to Pantasaph and Holywell

Yesterday I travelled with my friend David Forster for the fouth time to the annual LMS Pilgrimage to Holywell in Flintshire.

Before we went to Holywell we made a detour to the nearby Franciscan Capuchin house at Pantasaph.

This was founded by a late nineteenth century Earl and Countess of Denbigh and is dedicated to St David. Originally started when the couple were Anglican they took the church with them into the Catholic Church and added the Capuchin foundation.

Pantasaph Priory


There is an article on its history at Pantasaph and the Priory's own website with both history and other information can be seen at Retreat Centre - Pantasaph Friary. It is also now a major centre of devotion to Padre Pio

The buildings of the church and priory, together with those of a former orphanage are very fine   Gothic-revival work, but the church suffered to some extent in the wake of Vatican II - which Catholic church did not?however most of the decoration survives, and in recent years some has been restored.


The view from the entrance of the Church



The view of the interior from the west


The main casualty of the changes is the loss of the reredos which sperated teh altar from the Friars choir beyond. Here the altar has not been brought forward but the dividing feature removed. This is agreat pity, as can be seen from the photograph showing the original arrangement.


The High Altar as it was at Pantrasaph

 Image: francisfrith.com

That feature was still in polace when I last visited Pantasaph, but that was in 1958 when the Pope then gloriously reigning was Pope Pius XII, and I have a slight memory of the altar as it was.

Apart from such nostalgia a second reason for visiting the Priory was to pray at the grave of Fr Mark Elvins O.F.M., who I knew in Oxford and who his buried with his Capuchin brethren in the graveyard. 

We then went on to Holywell for the Pilgrimage Mass in the parish church. This was celebrated by
Fr Richard Tanner of the Institute of Christ the King with Canon Altiere as deacon and Father Francis Wadsworth as sub deacon.Following this we processed down the old road to the Shrine and Well Chapel reciting the Rosary, to be venerate and be blessed by the Relic of St Winefride, to light candles ( rather a lot for me to do this year ) and to duip my rosary in the pool of the Holy Well.

David and I sped back ( when traffic allowed) on the M6, listening to Gregorian Chant, Classic FM and talking about Brexit - well we would would n't we?

We had good weather for the day and it was, as ever, spiritually as well as physically refreshing.

St Elizabeth of Portugal

July 4 is the feast of St Elizabeth of Portugal, the Queen of King Denis and who died in 1336, and about whom there is a biography here under her paternal name of Elizabeth of Aragon. Known as isabel in Iberia she was a Franciscan tertiary who was famed as a peacemaker and canonised in the seventeenth century, She has been seen as an exemplar of Queenly and maternal virtues.

The Order of St Isabel (or Elizabeth) was founded by King John VI in 1801 as an award for Ladies and there is an article about it at Order of Saint Isabel.

This was re-established in 1986 by Dom Duarte III with his consort as Grand Mistress of the Order.

Order of Saint Isabel.jpg

The Sash and Badge of the Order of St Isabel


Saturday 2 July 2016

Bl. Peter of Luxembourg

John Dillon has posted on the Medieval Religion discussion group the following piece about Bl. Peter of  Luxembourg - who is an interesting example of later medieval piety and patronage. I have added my own comments in [ ]; the pictures can be seen in a larger size by clicking on the bottom right hand link :

A scion of one of later medieval Europe's great noble houses, Peter was born in 1369 at today's Ligny-en-Barrois (Meuse).  Orphaned early, he was brought up in an atmosphere of considerable piety and was educated at Paris, where among his teachers were Nicolas Oresme and Pierre d'Ailly and where he was made a cathedral canon in November 1378.  Appointments in the dioceses of Cambrai (Archdeacon of Brussels) and of Chartres (Archdeacon of Dreux) followed swiftly.  The first Clement VII (the one who ruled from Avignon) named Peter Bishop of Metz early in 1384; slightly over two months later the same worthy created him Cardinal Deacon of St. George in Velabro [ and remember who became Cardinal Deacon of that church in 1879 - Clever Boy].

Unable to establish himself in Metz against the candidacy of an adherent of  Pope Urban VI, Peter withdrew to Luxembourg.  In early 1386 the young cardinal of Luxembourg (as Peter was called in popular parlance) was called to Avignon.  There he lived out the brief remainder of his life as a visionary and extreme ascetic, dying on this day in 1387.  [For this see Andre Vauchez' book on sanctiity and canonisation. That might suggest that Peter was a somewhat 'troubled' teenager].  Peter was buried in Avignon's cemetery of St. Michael; miracles were ascribed to him, a cult arose, and a wooden chapel was built at his gravesite.  In 1393-1395 King Charles VI of France founded for the Celestinians a convent there and provided it with a church built over Peter's resting place.  The Celestinians adopted Peter as one of their own.

Early Vitae were written, various devotional texts in Latin were ascribed to Peter, and in 1402 he was proclaimed Avignon's patron saint.  Conciliar abolition in 1417 of the line of Papal claimants from Avignon, subsequent general acceptance of their characterization as schismatics, and Peter's beatification in 1527 by the [undisputed] Pope Clement VII who ruled from Rome (this occurred very shortly before the Sack) have led to his rather unusual styling as "Blessed pseudocardinal Peter of Luxembourg".  Today is Peter's day of commemoration in the Roman Martyrology.

Some period-pertinent images of Bl. Peter of Luxembourg:

a) as twice depicted in the late fourteenth- or very early fifteenth-century so-called Prayer Book of Cardinal Peter of Luxembourg (Avignon, Bibliothèque-Médiathèque Municipale Caccano, ms. 207):
1) Praying to the BVM and Christ Child (fol. 8r):


2) Praying to the Virgin Annunciate (fol. 16v):


b) as depicted (his vision of Christ) in a fifteenth-century fresco in the chapelle Saint-Pancrace in Villar-Saint-Pancrace (Hautes-Alpes):


c) as depicted (his vision of  Christ's suffering on the Cross) by the Luçon Master in an early fifteenth-century book of hours for the Use of Rome (Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, ms. 491, fol. 244v):

d) as depicted (his vision of  Christ's suffering on the Cross) by the Luçon Master in an early fifteenth-century book of hours for the Use of Paris (c. 1410; Baltimore, Walters Art Museum, Walters ms. W.232, fol. 93r):

e) as depicted (scene at right; his vision of Christ's suffering on the Cross) in an earlier fifteenth-century fresco in the pieve di San Lorenzo in Settimo Vittone, now part of the Città Metropolitana di Torino:

f) as depicted (presenting a donor to the BVM and the Christ Child) in an earlier fifteenth-century panel painting in the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA [ Unfortunately this will not copy, so please click on the link]:

g) as depicted (his vision of Christ's suffering on the Cross) in an earlier fifteenth-century copy of The Desert of Religion (1425; London, BL, Cotton MS Faustina B VI, vol. ii, fol. 23v)
 [ Unfortunately this also will not copy, so please click on the link]:  :

h) as depicted (his vision of Christ's suffering on the Cross) in the earlier fifteenth-century Hachette Hours (c. 1430-1435; Use of Paris) sold at auction by Millon et Associés in 2012 (fol. 165r):

i) as depicted (his vision of Christ's suffering on the Cross) by the Masters of the Gold Scrolls in an earlier fifteenth-century book of hours for the Use of Rome with some variation for that of Rouen (c. 1440; Baltimore, Walters Art Museum, Walters ms. W.211, fol. 164v):


j) as depicted (his vision of Christ's suffering on the Cross) in a mid-or slightly later fifteenth-century panel painting (c. 1460) in the Musée du Petit Palais in Avignon:


k) as depicted (operating a resurrection miracle) in a later fifteenth-century fresco in the cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta in Ivrea, now part of the Città Metropolitana di Torino:


l) as depicted (his vision of Christ's suffering on the Cross) in a later fifteenth-century book of hours for the Use of Paris (c. 1470; Chambéry, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 1, fol. 193r):


m) as depicted in a late fifteenth-century copy of the Diète de salut attributed to him (c. 1490; New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, Morgan Ms. M. 182, fol. 1r):


n) as depicted (his vision of Christ's suffering on the Cross) in an early sixteenth-century book of hours for the Use of Rome (c. 1510; Tours, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 2104, fol. 156v):


Friday 1 July 2016

The Consecration of Westminster Cathedral

Today is the Feast of The Precious Blood, which is one of the patronal feasts of Westminster Cathedral and to mark the day Gregory DiPippo at New Liturgical Movement has a fine post about  The Consecration of Westminster Cathedral which comes from The Tablet in July 1910- it is perhaps a bit different in tone from what we would expect from the Bitter Pill these days.