Ordinations: Report from Kensington (Catholic League)

10 05 2011

From the Catholic League blog:

Friday evening 6th May 2011 saw the ordination of 7 deacons, all formerly serving as priests in the Church of England. Each belongs to a group of clergy and lay people who aim to form personal parishes as part of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. The three groups at the moment are from Hemel Hempstead, North London (Enfield) and Central London.

Fr Mark Woodruff, director of the League was a concelebrant and assisted the Revd Tim Bugby to vest in the stole and dalmatic. Deacon Timothy is a member of the Hemel Hempstead Ordinariate Group.

The new deacons were consecrated by Bishop Alan Hopes, Episcopal Delegate for the Ordinariate from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, on behalf of the Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, at the Church of Our Lady of Victories, Kensington. Our Lady of Victories was the Pro-Cathedral of the Diocese of Westminster before the consecration of Westminster Cathedral.

The Liturgy was a fine mix of the best of the Catholic musical tradition and elements of English litrugical patrimony that have long since been owned and absorbed within Catholic worship. It is interesting to reflect on the mutual histories. The Kyrie, Gloria and Agnus Dei were from the Missa Papae Marcelli by Palestrina, famous as the Mass formerly sung as a rule at papal coronations. Probably dating from 1562, it comes from the time of the closing sessions of the great Catholic reforming Council of Trent. Thirteen years after Thomas Cranmer crafted his first Book of Common Prayer, launching the Anglican liturgical patrimony set a year later to simple music by John Merbecke (organist of St George’s Chapel, Windsor, who had once composed polyphonic music for the Catholic litrugy but who had become a convinced Calvinist and theological controversialist, narrowly escaping the death penalty for heresy, thanks to the clemency of Bishop Stephen Gardiner), the Council had completed its work of aggiornamento – the Catholic reform – to meet the conditions and challenges of a world beyond the Middle Ages and the effects of the Renaissance. It is not really accurate to speak of a counter-Reformation, as the roots to the Catholic reform go back further and show remarkable continuity with development and growth in the Middle Ages, not least in the development of a firmly Catholic humanist tradition (Erasmus, St Thomas More) and movements of lay and religious spiritual revival (such as in the Low Countries cultivating the Devotio Moderna), the effects of which can be traced not only in the pietistical objectives of Protestant Reformers, but more truly in the Carmelite reform inspired by St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross and subsequently in the genesis of the Society of Jesus. In England, the Carthusians were at the forefront of this spiritual renewal process, this being doubtless more than part of the reason why they found themselves almost the first to be confronted by Henry VIII as he wrested control of the Church, and its orientation and purpose. Whereas England embraced a truncated, partial reform in response to the crisis in the Church after the end of the Middles Ages, the Catholic Church completed a reform that opened the Liturgy to the involvement of the people, cultivated liturgical spirituality, provided for the thorough training of the clergy in orthodox theology and philosophy, so as to enable the catechesis of the faithful in their Catholic faith, and opened up a vigorous sense of mission not only around the world but also in Europe in response to the challenge of the Protestant Reformers. Perhaps the greatest of its exponents in Europe was St Francis de Sales, whose transparent holiness and zeal as a pastor and teacher won back to the Catholic faith the diocese of Geneva, even if not the city itself. Under Queen Mary I, England was a first laboratory for the reforms contemplated by the Council and Professor Eamon Duffy has shown, in Fires of Faith, that however else history has judged this reign, its religious policy of catechesis, preaching, liturgical development, mission and persuasion were not only popular but effective, later to be emulated in other parts of Europe. By 1562, England had been channelled back into Protestantism for four years and the English Church was not to benefit from the musical post-Renaissance renewal of music and worship, pioneered by Palestrina’s new approach in the spirit of the Catholic reforms, for over 400 years. The choice of this particular mass setting, composed at a time of rupture in the Church at the root of the Anglican schism and thus its missing out on the full process or reform within the Church, was inspired, as it represented something of a healing of histories, a resetting of something that had been dislocated. Those with an Anglican patrimony could reclaim a symbolic part of their missed Catholic heritage.

The entrance hymn was from the time of the Church before the Great Schism – St Fulbert of Chartres’ Ye choirs of New Jerusalem, translated by Robert Campbell, who brought into English many Latin hymns (notably the hymns of Charles Coffin from the Paris Breviary). This great favourite has occupired a much loved place in Anglican worship for 150 years, but is less well known as a hymn to sing at mass in the English Catholic Church. The tune, St Fulbert, was written by Henry Gauntlett (1805-1876), the organist, composer and organ-builder who has the distinction of having been the first person to be awarded a Doctorate of Music by the Archbishop of Canterbury, with pontifical powers to oversee ecclesiastical and university education reserved to the Pope before the breach with Rome, in 200 years. He is also famous as the composer of the tune, Irby, for Once in Royal David’s City. In the Anglican church, the custom is not to omit the Amen at the end of hymns concluding with a trinitarian doxology, and with St Fulbert the Amen is preceded by with an Alleluia. This did not happen at Our Lady of Victories – it is not their tradition – but there was a sense of expectation to sing it, as many present were or had been Anglicans familiar with this custom of singing Alleluia. Amen.

During the vesting of the new deacons, Veni Creator Spiritus was sung in Latin. In future, when the Ordinariates benefit from their own distinctive Use of the Roman Latin rite, will they be able to use the much-loved translation into English by Bishop John Cosin from the 1662 Anglican Ordinal – Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire?

The last hymn was Thine be the glory, a fairly recent arrival in English, but now a hymn that truly belongs to all English Christians. It had its origins in the French-speaking Swiss Reformed Church, and stands as another example of different Christian patrimonies, in the exchange of spiritual riches for which Vatican II’s Decree on  Ecumenism hoped, informing and infusing each other.

This seems to be the first of the Ordinariate ordinations in which the participants were furnished with the full text of the presentation of candidates, marking the exceptional constitutional nature of the Ordinarite and the ordination of married transitional deacons destined for ordination to the priesthood:

Bishop Hopes: Do you judge them worthy?
Mgr Newton: After enquiry among the people of Christ and upon recommendation of those concerned with their training, and with the permission of the Holy See, I testify that they have been found worthy.

As at the ordinations in Cambridge in Easter Week, Bishop Hopes also included after the Election by the Bishop and Consent of the People the prayer of thanksgiving – and thus Catholic recognition – for previous Anglican ministry “derived from the very fullness of grrace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church”. This led directly into the Bishop’s homily which we hope will be made available in due course. At the Ordinariate ordinations in the Archdiocese of Southwark the following day at Aylesford, it seems that Bishop Hines also used the same prayer but placed it with the invitation to prayer, prior to the Litany of Saints (which, as it is Eastertide, was sung standing while the candidates protstrated). This is the position in the rite at which the Prayer of Thanksgiving was used at the Ordination of Mgr Graham Leonard and subsequent priestly ordinations of former Anglican priests in the diocese of Westminster under Cardinal Hume, whose initiative it was.

Finally, for the Offertory the motet was William Byrd’s Haec Dies, the Gradual for Easter used at both mass and the office throughout the eight days of Easter. Byrd was probably born in 1540 at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries. He witnessed the collapse of the shortlived and futile Henrician pseudo-Catholic Church in 1547 and its replacement by a more thorough Protestant Reformed Church of England under his son, with worship in English according to the First and Second Books of Common Prayer until Queen Mary restored the English Church’s allegiance to the Catholic Church. Possibly by then he was a Chapel Royal choirboy. Certainly he was a pupil of Thomas Tallis, who as a Gentlement of the Chapel from 1543 to his death in 1585 was a leading court composer, serving Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. Like Byrd he remained a Catholic throughout, but avoided religious controversy, adapting his musical style and output to the tastes and requirements of his royal employers. The young Byrd collaborated with Tallis, John Sheppard and William Mundy in writing new music for the Sarum rite used by the Chapel Royal towards the end of the reign of Queen Mary in 1558. Thereafter, with the Church of England re-established and its Prayer Book restored, Byrd’s public musicianship had to serve the requirements of Queen Elizabeth. After he too became a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal in 1572, he collaborated with the aged Tallis on the publication of a collection of motets in Latin. Dedicated to the Queen, the collection comprised items used in the Chapel Royal in which the Prayer Book was used in Latin translation. But Haec Dies comes from Byrd’s own 1591 second volume of Cantiones Sacrae, containing his later output of motets more specifically reflecting his Catholic perspective. Like his subsequent Masses and the Gradualia that date from the reign of James I (Byrd’s long life ended in 1623), they may well have seen service in the clandestine masses and performances of religious music in the houses of Catholic patrons.

So Haec Dies represents an attempt to recover the tradition of a Catholic musical and liturgical patrimony Byrd treasured from the time of his youth, as well as to renew it with influences from the continent and developing tastes in secular music, at the same time as his outstanding and innovative contribution to the emergence of the Anglican musical and liturgical patrimony. But despite his high reputation as a master of European Renaissance music in his lifetime, and despite such illustrious pupils as Peter Philips, Thomas Tomkins and Thomas Morley, the English tradition of Latin sacred music died with him. The place of his secular music in the repertoire declined with changes in popular taste and it was only his Anglican music that preserved his fame beyond the Restoration until it too fell out of use. But the story does not end there. Despite various attempts in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to revive interest in his enormous output over such a long life, it took an Anglican clergyman and musicologist, Edmund Fellowes, to edit and publish twenty volumes of Byrd’s music as well as the remarkable series, Tudor Church Music, through which he also recovered the long forgotten works of other English Renaissance composers, notably Orlando Gibbons.

So the selection of Haec Dies could not have been more apt for the ordination of deacons for the Ordinariate. Ostensibly a piece of Catholic patrimony from the age of the Tudors, it speaks of the genesis of the Anglican musical patrimony by the same hand. Furthermore, it was recovered for re-reception within Catholic worship through the scholarship of a Church of England priest, as a labour of love that he thought would enrich the Anglican choral tradition in such places in which served as Bristol Cathedral, St George’s Chapel, Windsor, and St Michael’s College, Tenbury (1856-1985 – a school founded by Sir Fredreick Gore Ouseley as a model for church music raised to the highest standards, in reaction to its parlous condition in the mid-nineteenth century).

It is interesting to reflect that the sacred music of the English Renaissance that is associated with the Anglican patrimony par excellence, especially Choral Evensong, owes its place deep in the heart, imagination and folk memory of the Church of England’s cathedral tradition to the efforts of a clergyman who flourished in the first half of the twentieth century, a matter of mere decades ago. It is also worth bearing in mind that long before Anglicanorum Coetibus, the restoration of Anglican patrimony brought with it some treasures to be restored to their rightful and much loved place in the Catholic liturgy too.


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