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.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Papal Titles

The Special Correspondent has just forwarded the following item to me:

Do I really need to say more?

Well, being me, yes, but only a little.

As another friend and I agreed there is something of journalistic hype to this - the titles are not abandoned so much as consigned to an historical footnote. It is a bit as though The Queen were to designate herself Elizabeth Mountbatten-Windsor and with an asterisk to her historic titles, in small print, as Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britainand Northern Ireland, Queen of Canada, Queen of Australia, Queen of New Zealand etc etc...

The same friend referred to it as “cult of personality”. I agreed, and added that back in 1978 with the abandonment of the Papal Coronation - what is a better call to humility than the threefold “Sic transit gloria mundi”? - the Papacy would become dependent upon a personality cult rather than reverence for the office. I said it then, as a non-Catholic, now and as a Catholic I see its fruit.

I suppose one can trust in the inevitable reaction in the course of time.

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