On this feast of Ss. Peter and Paul, it is important to remember that the Anglosphere – like every other realm on Earth – has particular ties to the Eternal City. Prior to the Reformation, the King of England was protector of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls – and the abbot thereof was prelate of the Order of the Garter (which is why that Order’s arms remain that of the Abbey to-day). As a result, St. Paul’s in London was considered a sort of sister church to the Roman Basilica. After the Protestant Revolt, the English, Scots, and Irish Colleges were founded to train priests for those missions – and after the famous Flight of the Earls, those two noted Irish noblemen settled, died, and were entombed in Rome. Eventually, after the so-called Glorious Revolution and their de-recognition by France after the War of Spanish Succession, the exiled Stuarts and their Court were welcomed by the Pope – which is why there are so many sites associated with them in Rome and its environs, and why they are entombed in the Vatican. To provide for the loyal Anglicans who comprised part of their entourage, the Stuarts convinced the Pope to open a Protestant cemetery in Rome; a number of British notables who died in Rome would be buried there over the years.
As allies in the struggle with the French Revolution and Napoleon, there was a noticeable warming in the relationship between Britain and the Holy See; this allowed for both the Catholic Revival in the British Isles (one milestone of which was the giving of the Red Hat to Bl. John Henry Newman, with the title of San Giorgio in Velabro), and the establishment of an Anglican Congregation connected to the British Embassy. In 1873, after the Italian government dispossessed the Papacy of Rome, the new regime permitted the building of an American Episcopalian congregation within the city’s walls as a studied insult to the Pope. Nevertheless, relations between Paul VI and Michael Ramsey were such that the latter encouraged the formation of the Anglican Centre in Rome as an assist to reunion – a hope that subsequent developments within the Anglican Communion have rendered void.
As the centre of the Catholic world, the Eternal City boasts a number of national churches; these include to-day English, Scots (now deconsecrated), Irish, Canadian, and American congregations. The Domus Australia is a centre for Australian visitors to Rome. On April 25, 2018, the feast of St. Mark, the Anglican Use liturgy was offered in Santa Maria in Campitelli (this was the title church of Cardinal York, de jure King Henry IX – since his time it has been a centre of prayer for the conversion of England and Scotland); in time perhaps, it may find a permanent home in one of the Anglosphere national parishes.
Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and the United States all maintain embassies to the Holy See. Citizens of those countries would be well advised to contact them for information regarding access to sites and ceremonies often not available in any in any other way. The same is true for both the afore-mentioned national colleges and the North American and Canadian colleges. It is important to remember that the Eternal City is as much a part of the Patrimony as Glastonbury or Canterbury.
For those wanting to know more about the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and the meaning of the above statute based on one of the very first Marian Apparitions.
Today is the Feast of St John the Baptist. The Baptist is well-known as the patron saint of French Canada, and la Saint-Jean or la Saint-Jean-Baptiste, as today is known, is the major cultural holiday of French Canadians across the Dominion, and in Quebec it is also known as la Fête nationale.
To mark the occasion, fellow contributor to this blog Charles Coulombe (who is himself of French Canadian heritage) has posted elsewhere online the fourth verse of the original French version of O Canada, saying that “Because Canada was discovered by John Cabot on June 24, 1497, St John the Baptist is also the patron of… Anglo-Canadians….” And so he was adopted as patron for the Anglican ordinariate community in Canada as well, and the Deanery thus marks our national patronal on this day.
Amour sacré du trône et de l’autel,
Remplis nos cœurs de ton souffle immortel !
Parmi les races étrangères,
Notre guide est la loi :
Sachons être un peuple de frères,
Sous le joug de la foi.
Et répétons, comme nos pères,
Le cri vainqueur : « Pour le Christ et le roi ! »
Le cri vainqueur : « Pour le Christ et le roi ! »
Bonne St-Jean à tous!
June 22 is the feast of Ss. John Fisher and Thomas More, a key date in the life of the Patrimony. Pilgrims wishing to visit sites and shrines associated with them may find the following useful. Although St. John Fisher’s cathedral at Rochester is worth visiting, do not expect to see much about him there, although they have revived remembrance of St. William of Perth, a pre-Reformation saint (Nicholas Ridley, an Anglican bishop executed treason after supporting Lady Jane Grey against Queen Mary I IS heavly commemorated, however). Nearby, however, is the beautiful Catholic church of St. John Fisher. The bodies of the two Saints are interred together – although unmarked – in the Tower of London’s Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula, near Tower Green where they were martyred. St. John Fisher’s head is buried under the floor near the entrance of the church of All Hallows by the Tower, while St. Thomas More’s is St. Dunstan’s, Canterbury.
St. Thomse More is well remembered in London’s Chelsea. Chelsea Old Church was his parish church: the only thing to survive its bombing in the Blitz was the altar-tomb commissioned for his family by the Saint. The local Catholic church partly commemorates him, and while his house is gone, its space is occupied by the Archdiocesan Seminary, Allen Hall – in their backyard remains the mulberry tree around which the More family used to play. By sheerest happenstance, an earlier residence of the family was moved from Bishopsgate to the neigbourhood in the early 20th century.
If you find yourself in London, do visit the Martyrs’ shrine at Tyburn Convent, where relics of many of the hundreds of Catholics judicially murdered for our Faith can be venerated. Be sure to check with Catholic History Walks whenever planning a trip to London. Not only is chief guide Joanna Bogle a wealth of information and a lot of fun, she is a brilliant writer and a great friend of the Ordinariates.
It has not escaped my attention of a number of diocesan and religious Catholic priests have expressed interest in the Patrimony of the Personal Ordinariates for a number of reasons, yet usually can only look on from afar. Following up from the excellent recent article from Kevin Greenlee, who rightly points out the role guilds and societies played in the history of our Patrimony and proposed the formation of new Ordinariate ones, I would suggest a society that allows priests in other sections of the Catholic Church to engage with the Patrimony of the Ordinariates, while still remaining as part of their respective jurisdictions.
There is a precedent for such a society: Opus Dei has the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, made up of the priests of Opus Dei’s Personal Prelature and diocesan clergy who are members of Opus Dei and formed in its spirituality, but still are under the jurisdiction of their diocesan bishop. Why cannot the Ordinariates have a similar organisation that provides Priestly fraternity, the ability to partake in the Patrimony, and even the education in our liturgy Divine Worship so they can be granted facilities to celebrate it?
Do we not all know of Catholic priests who were former Anglican clergy, and have not chosen to join the Ordinariates because of their ministries and the people who rely on them? Would this not allow them to engage with their heritage while respecting their present call to mission?
Do we not know of Patrimony groups who wish to form communities far away from Ordinariate parishes and have no clergy support? It might work out that a diocesan priest of such a society could help foster the group to become an Ordinariate community while keeping his commitment to his diocese.
Not being a priest myself, this is just a humble suggestion but I do invite the clergy to consider the idea- and others such as the proposed Guild of All Souls.
Although the Ordinariates should have their own societies and other organisations we should not become insular and should engage with wider Catholic organisations (such as the members of the International Alliance of Catholic Knights for example)- but would it not be good to have one group that met in “our house” as it were, to maintain the policy of united but not absorbed.
Guest post by Kevin Greenlee
Among the multitude of riches which the Oxford Movement added to the Anglican patrimony was the advent of many Anglican devotional guilds and societies such as the Society of Mary and the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament. While diverse in their specific devotional ends, many of them had as their motivation the desire to restore lost devotion to the English Church and make restitution for neglected spiritual duties.
It’s my conviction that the three Ordinariates would benefit greatly from bringing versions of these societies to life within the full communion of the Catholic Church. Such societies will provide opportunities for lay members of the Ordinariate to grow in holiness while making restitution for neglected spiritual duties, and they will be a gift to the whole Church Catholic.