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, 11 April 2020

Good Friday Liturgies

Yesterday afternoon I used the livestream link to participate in the Solemn Liturgy of the Passion at the Oxford Oratory. The excellent sermon from Fr Joseph started by drawing upon the exhibition the Oratory hosted at the beginning of Lent about the Shroud of Turin, and how the images of that great relic and the accompanying material made the stark horror of crucifixion all the more intense to the viewer. From that he moved to speak of our responsibility for Our Lord’s suffering but how such evil was overcome and transformed, not wiped away, by God’s forgiveness and love.

Later on the livestream facility took me to York 
to their Stations of the Cross led by the Provost, Fr Richard Duffield. These drew skilfully upon the current situation with the effects of the corona virus on all our lives.

Having signed up to the FSSP iMass link I looked to see what they had on view. I caught the latter part of the liturgy at the basilica in Fribourg in Switzerland. This was very dignified with the crucifix placed on a cushion and carpet before the altar for veneration and with a single minister in black chasuble.

FSSP provides further liturgical riches from Sarasota in Florida. The liturgy was in the church of Christ the King, which is obviously a centre for traditional liturgy serving the south west part of the state. The church has a very impressive altar and a fine schola or choir. Here again the liturgy was ‘pre 55’. The reading of the Passion appeared quite different from the modern form, with the chasubled priest as Christus standing at the altar as though reading the Gospel at Low Mass, and the deacon and sub-deacon in all alb and stole reading their parts facing north in the traditional place for the Gospel reading. Again the crucifix was placed on a cushion and carpet for the veneration.

Being in Florida it was perhaps not that surprising that what was clearly a forceful sermon was delivered by the priest in Spanish,  but what was also noteworthy was that he wore a Spanish biretta. The vestments for the three ministers were a very handsome black and silver set, and at the appropriate point the deacon wore the Broad Stole. Now a few years ago that was regarded as gone forever from the usage of the Church, yet here in 2020, and FSSP is part of the mainstream, here was that delight of us liturgical enthusiasts, the historic Broad Stole.

For a bit of background here, from 2008, is an article from The New Liturgical Movement about its origins:

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