Thursday, 26 April 2012

Priestly Ordination of our trustee, Fr James Bradley

Fr Mark Woodruff writes:

Three officers of the Catholic League, Fr Mark Woodruff (priest-director), Mary Bacon, and David Chapman (secretary-general) were present for the ordination of our fellow trustee, Fr James Bradley, to the priesthood of the Catholic Church in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Also ordained was our friend from the Oxford Ordinariate Group, Fr Daniel Lloyd. As Mgr Keith Newton pointed out, the ordination was historic and more than usually joyful, because these were the first new priests for the Ordinariate who have not previously served as Anglican priests and parish priests. We offer our warmest congratulations and the promise of our prayers for Fr Daniel and Fr James in our Lord's service as his priests.

Over the last year and more, we have offered some reflections on the great services of reception and ordination that have marked such significant moments in the establishment of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, with an eye to aspects of the great Anglican patrimony, as their distinctiveness meets the fullness of communion in the Catholic Church with integrity for both. This is to observe "united, not absorbed" in action, as one foretaste of the unity of Christians in the Universal Church of Christ, which the Catholic Church is bound to realise and manifest, according to the most urgent appeal of Christ to the Father, in his high priestly prayer on the night before he died. So the ordination of every priest is intimately connected not only with Christ's institution of the Eucharist and the offering of his Sacrifice, but also his pleading for the oneness and unbroken communion of his disciples - "that the world may believe it was you who sent me". So we also pray that, from the beginning of their priesthood, consciously bearing their Anglican Christian formation and identity, in fullness of communion with the successor of Peter as witness to the Lord's resurrection, they may live for the fullness of communion of all Christ's followers as ministers of reconciliation.  The Liturgy of Ordination at which this work was set in motion indicated the richness of the "noble simplicity" of the Latin Roman rite of the Catholic Church, but also the way in which it now receives treasures from other Christian traditions, and makes them her own precisly because they already belong as gifts to the Universal Church of Christ which subsists in the same Catholic Church. In a way, the natural home for the Anglican tradition is the Catholic Church, "united, not absorbed", and not in our continued separation.

The Mass was celebrated at the most magnificently restored Church of St Patrick, Soho Square, in London. The Ordinariate currently lacks churches of its own (please pray and give generously towards this, as its future mission will rely on centres of liturgical life and pastoral mission), so various diocesan Catholic cathedrals and church have been generously offered for significant events. The Ordinariate's first Chrism Mass was held at St James's,  Spanish Place, and these ordinations benefited from the astonishing beauty of a once struggling church, that is now a centre for bold Catholic evangelisation in the heart of London. Fr Alexander Sherbrooke deserves gratitude not only for his great hospitality, but also for his faith and vision in transforming an historic church (there is a plaque inside the door marking its foundation in the 18th century, not all that long after penal times, and before both the relief of all civil discriminations against Catholics in Britain and the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy in England and the foundation of the present diocese of Westminster) from a crumbling inner London building that had lost its old constituency and some of its sense of purpose, only to recover its confidence through the pressing task arising from Pope Benedict's proclamation of a "new evangelisation of old Europe".

Fr Alexander encourages complete silence in the Church outside of services - as a sign reads in a Church in France that I recently visited, "Si vous parlez ici, ou prierez-vous?" Thus, in deep spiritual concentration and anticipation, we began John Mason Neale's unrivalled translation of O Filii et Filiae - and we needed ten verses of Ye sons and daughters of the King to accomplish the entrance procession. The Latin hymn is traced back to Jean Tisserand, a French Franciscan of the Order of Friars Minor, who died in 1494. With its opening triple Alleluia, and its sole Alleluia refrain - and given that the last verse in Latin is a trope on the closing versicle and response in the Divine Office (Benedicamus Domino - Deo Gratias), it was presumably written as a joyous conclusion to Lauds and Vespers of Easter Day, possibly for procession. Thus it later became associated in the parishes of France with Benediction on Easter Day. It remains very popular in France, and this is immortalised in the electrifying 1973 recording of Pierre Cochereau, titulaire at Notre Dame de Paris, with the choirs of the Cathedral, Grandes Heures Liturgiques. Neale's translation (from Medieval Hymns and Sequences, 1851) is the superior of Fr Edward Caswall's (see The Catholic Hymn Book, Gracewing, 1998, no. 86, and you will see what I mean), but sadly, like Caswall's version, it is little known. Indeed, I cannot remember singing it since the late 1980s, when I served with Fr David Skeoch, my vicar at St Gabriel's, Warwick Square, who, I am delighted to remark, was my fellow-concelebrant at this ordination, having been ordained priest for the Catholic Church in the Ordinariate only in June last year. Perhaps the problem for this hymn's popularity is Samuel Webbe's ornate arrangement of the 17th century version of the tune. Mercifully, the robust late-plainsong version that is native to the text was chosen. The plainsong strongly suggests its being sung in triple time (like Corde Natus from the Sarum rite), because the verse-writing accords neither with the rules of classical metrical quantity nor of more modern accent and stress - the lilt keeps the "rude Latin" to a discipline and enables it to be sung. Neale observed the canons of poetic metre and so, even when the congregation faltered at the beginning, by the third verse we were singing lustily and unforgetfully. Perhaps this particular jubilant Latin Catholic hymn, mediated by perhaps the greatest of English scholars in classical hymnography, can restore some Catholic patrimony by way of the receiving of gifts from the Anglican patrimony. It deserves to be far better known and we learned how quickly it can be much loved. One interesting note on the triple Alleluia: an ancient design was that it be sung by a sole cantor, repeated by the choir, followed by the verses (each concluding with a single Alleluia), alternated between the cantor and main body of singers, and interspersed with the triple Alleluia until the last turn is taken by the sole cantor at the solemn zenith, so to speak, of the entire canticle. Judging from the order of service, the intention seems to have been the custom (from North American usage) to open with a triple Alleluia and sing the verses through with just their sole Alleluia and dispensing with a triple refrain. Inspiration seems to have taken hold of us all, for we all sang every word, and each verse was adorned with the exhilarating triple Alleluia.  It was quite unforgettable.

Bishop Alan Hopes, Titular Bishop of Cuncacestre and Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, presided as Episcopal Delegate to the Ordinariate from the Bishops' Conference. The first reading, Hebrews 5.1-10, was read by the Revd Dr Robin Ward, Daniel's and James' Anglican theological college principal at St Stephen's House, Oxford. Those clergy who have not yet read his On Christian Priesthood, a model of classical Anglican divinity and of the theological methodology beloved of Archbishops William Temple and Michael Ramsey, synthesis (namely integrating different and even sometimes opposing perspectives in exposition of the received truth, in this case Anglican divines, Catholic saints and theologians and Eastern Fathers and teachers), are missing a feast for the mind and spirit alike. Servers were supplied by the young and reinvigorated community at St Patrick's, monks of Farnborough Abbey, and seminarians from Oscott and Wonersh. Deacons likewise came from Wonersh and the ordinariate's permanent deacon, who cannot proceed to priesthood for the moment because he is a serving judge - His Honour the Revd James Patrick. The gospel, read by a deacon from Wonersh, was from John 17, verses 6 and 14-19. The text of Mgr Newton's Homily concludes this post.

The Ordinary of the Mass was the Missa Laetatus sum a 12 by Fr Tomas Luis de Victoria, 1548-1611; the related motet setting of Psalm 121/2 (Laetatus sum - I was glad), also for three SATB choirs, was sung at Holy Communion. These works were published in 1600 in Madrid, in the collection Missae, Magnificat, Motecta, at alia quam Psalmi plurima, Victoria's penultimate collection, during his 17-year appointment as the chaplain to the Dowager Holy Roman Empress Maria of Austria, daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and brother of King Philip II of Spain (king matrimonial of England as husband of the Catholic Mary I), at the Convent of Royal Discalced Clares in Madrid, where he also served as an organist and choirmaster. There is not much "Anglican patrimony" in Victoria's liturgical music, except we can note that, as the most significant composer of the late Renaissance as it was affected by the Counter-Reformation, especially while it was undergoing the influences of spiritual renewal in Spain familiar to us in the Carmelite reform movement and the foundation of the Society of Jesus, he will have been deeply aware of the turmoil in the Church in Europe in the times he lived in. So, just as north European Protestant musicians were influenced by developments in music led by Catholic composers embracing the liturgical and pastoral reforms of the Council of Trent, Catholic musicians, too, were writing in a context deeply conditioned, not only by religious renewal movements within Catholicism, but also by the phenomenon of the Protestant Reformations and the Church's reaction to it. Victoria is seen as belonging to the "Roman School" and thus influenced by Palestrina, under whom he may have studied while cantor at the Jesuits' German College and whom he succeeded as master of music at the Roman Seminary after his wife's death, the first Spanish composer to master Palestrina's style. The Fleming Lassus was a contemporary, as was Guerrero. We have observed elsewhere the influence of this school on Protestant musicians with contacts in Italy (fourth paragraph from the end). It is thus worth bearing in mind that Victoria was born in the year of the first English Order of Holy Communion and died in the year of the publication of King James I's Authorised Version of the Bible. As a Counter-Reformation priest, as well as a musician, he will have been stirred by contemporary strife between Catholics and Protestants - and the need to address it - not least through the engagement of Philip II with England through his wife Queen Mary and through an attempted conflict with her Protestant sister Elizabeth I. Victoria was greatly admired by King Philip, so it is possible that his music was known and and sung in Queen Mary's chapel royal, since Mary was keen in her religious policy not to turn back the clock but to embrace the Catholic reforms and make England the best exemplar of the Tridentine Church's efforts at aggiornamento. Victoria's place in the repertoire of church choirs in England was pioneered by Sir Richard Runciman Terry, first organist and choirmaster of Westminster Cathedral (from 1896).

The Responsorial Psalm was 109/110, with a Gregorian psalm-tone for a response and Sir Henry Smart's double (Anglican) chant in G, often associated with the second section of the Te Deum (Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ), for the verses. It was wonderful to hear this perfectly executed by the superb choir, the Newman Consort from Oxford, and various onetime choristers among the clergy and among the faithful, joining in the harmonies. It was an inspired musical choice from among the best loved parts of Anglican liturgical and cultural heritage.

With respect to the rite of Ordination itself, it is worth pointing out that the Anglican Use of the Latin Roman Rite that is currently in development will not included liturgies for the sacrament of Order. As the Ordinariate is not a sui iuris church with a separate liturgical tradition belonging to a different canonical integrity, it is to use the same rites of ordination as other Latin Catholics. Thus, at the vesting and anointing of priests, on this occasion the (fine but somewhat approximate) translation of Veni Creator Spiritus by Bishop John Cosin (Come Holy Ghost, our souls inspire) from the Anglican Ordinal was not used. Instead the hymn was sung in Latin. It was interesting to note that many of the Ordinariate priests know this by heart - given so many ordinations in the last year. The full complement of priests now stands at 60. In itself, this small detail was a profound sign of communion.

The Litany of the Saints included appropriate petitions to additional saints - for example, St Anselm, the great philospher Archbishop of Canterbury whose feast it was; St Patrick, patron of the parish; Saint Frideswide, in recognition of the Oxford Ordinariate group for whom Fr Daniel is serving; Saint Claude de la Colombiere, patron of the Parish Hall and evangelisation centre in which we would later enjoy a reception; Saint Jose-Maria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, which operates a student house and ministry near the parish of the Holy Ghost in Balham where Fr James is serving.

Sadly, the custom in Westminster diocese and many others, of laying of hands by all the priests present in complete silence after the ordaining Bishop does so, was not followed. The rubrics enjoin silence when the Bishop lays hands, and insists that likewise the priests say nothing. So while the priests laid hands, in place of silence there was an organ improvisation referencing Veni Creator. While this was executed with great discretion and sensitivity, and it is not technically forbidden by the rubrics, nonetheless the usual silence is arguably among the most profound opportunities for the lay people to enter at length and deeply into reflective prayer that exists in our Rite, as they pray for the new priests in the moment of their ordination and as they enter into the liturgical action of the presbyterate in union with the Bishop as one priesthood, through a genuine and utterly absorbing participatio actuosa. Truly this point in the rite is a moment out of time.

The hymn in place of the Offertory was John Mason Neale's translation of an Easter hymn by St John Damascene, Come, ye faithful, raise the strain, on which we reflected last Easter (sixth paragraph).

During the Eucharistic Prayer (the Roman Canon), Bishop Alan Hopes rightly did not commemorate the diocesan Bishop, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, because, even though the Ordination physically took place within a church of the Diocese of Westminster, ecclesiologically and in terms of communion with the Catholic Church and the successor of Peter, it took place within the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Nonetheless, as an Auxiliary of Westminster within the territory of the diocese, he referred to "Keith the Ordinary", not "our" Ordinary, having referred to his own ministry as principal celebrant in the usual way.

The Lord's Prayer was in Latin, a csutom increasingly taken up once more with great vigour by Catholic congregations. The Communion antiphon, Ego sum pastor bonus, was sung to the setting by Claudio Monteverdi, from the Sanctae Cantiunculae published in Venice in 1582.

Also at Communion was sung Father Edward Caswall's translation of St Thomas Aquinas' Adoro te devote, O Godhead hid, devoutly I adore thee, to the tune Aquinas by Sir Richard Terry. This hymn and its tune are not so familiar to Catholics today as they once were, but the choice was felicitous for two reasons. First, Caswall (1814-1878) had once been an Anglican priest, steeped in the Church of England's Oxford tradition. After his wife died in 1849 he was received into the Catholic Church. Strongly influenced by Newman, he joined the Oratory of St Philip Neri in 1850. This hymn was included in his 1849 collection, Lyra Catholica, containing all the breviary and missal hymns. It was his wife Louisa who mostly translated The Altar Manual, a translation of a popular French devotional book,  that Caswall issued at the same time as the Lyra. The title Lyra Catholica is a clear reference to the Lyra Davidica of 1708, a collection of English hymns, including translations from German Protestant sources (the best known today being Christ the Lord is risen today - famous for its tune, Easter Hymn - and How brightly beams the morning star), and perhaps more particularly the Lyra Apostolica, a collection of hymns by Tractarian writers edited by Newman in 1836. Texts we recognise from this collection today include Hail, gladdening light, and Newman's Lead, kindly light. Keble's Blest are the pure in heart comes from his Lyra Innocentium of 1846. Secondly, the choice of hymn signals that Anglican patrimony, in this case the judicious use of the English hymn tradition in the mass of the Roman rite, is not static or locked in Anglican custom from the past, but is able to grow and develop through its contact with another religious tradition (itself influenced by Anglican hymnody in its earlier stages). In this particular case, the Ordinariate is not only embracing a favourite old Catholic hymn, it is somewhat restoring it within a community that risks losing the use of it. Reading the words, one can see how influential Caswall's translation was on the version by Gerard Manley Hopkins; another reason to sustain its use within the Church's living Tradition.

The Mass was concluded with Regina Caeli, set by Gregor Aichinger (1565-1628), organist to the great Fugger family in the mixed Catholic-Protestant imperial city of Augsburg in Bavaria. Jakob Fugger sponsored his trip to Rome and Italy for music studies for two years from 1599. Musically he was influenced by Giovanni Gabrielli, but religiously he was so inspired by the Catholic reform movement of the Counter-Reformation that he became a Catholic himself, was ordained priest and became, on his return to Augsburg as a vicar choral at the Cathedral, one of the principal exponents in Germany of the principles of the Counter-Reformation - itself an outreach to meet the concerns that had driven many to the extreme of rupture of communion within the Church - as they were implemented through the music of the liturgy. This little piece (no mere choral work, since it constantly refers the listening worshipper back to the joyful salutation of the Virgin Mary on account of the Resurrection of her Son - Regina Caeli, laetare) dates from after the period of deep change in Aichinger's passions, faith and outlook; and it is a sign of the need at once for reform and renewal, and of the Church's deep instinct and need for the fulness of communion. Apparently, it is a great favourite with the choir at St Stephen's House, where Frs Daniel and James trained; and it is in so many ways the aptest of choices with which to end this magnificent and inspiring Liturgy.

At the end, hundreds of the faithful lined up to receive the first blessings of the new priests. I am very glad to report that Father Daniel Lloyd did so in a full English surplice. Vivat traditio Anglicana, patrimonium Catholicum vere.

Mgr Keith Newton's homily, preached at the ordination to the Sacred Priesthood of Fr James Bradley and Fr Daniel Lloyd on Saturday 21 April 2012:

As you send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth. John 17:19

The popularity of David Attenborough programmes such as Frozen Planet, Life of Mammals, and so on, shows the continuing fascination many people have with the natural world. We inhabit this planet with many other creatures but, in a large measure, its future is in our hands whether we believe in global warming or not. That God is the creator of the world and all that is in it is a basic doctrine of the Faith. It was for this world that our Blessed Lord lived and died, as Saint John reminds us in one of the most well-known verses of the Gospels:

‘God so loved the world that gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’ John 3:16

Did you notice, then, that the word ‘world’ occurred nine times in today’s Gospel reading? In it, Jesus tells his disciples that they do not belong to the world. They are in it but not of it. This is because they have been chosen by Christ, and the world will hate them as it hated him. There are really difficult words, and certainly Jesus did not leave his followers under any illusions about the consequences of following him, and in those early years his followers experienced what it meant to be persecuted.

But how are we to understand this passage? What does it mean for us not to belong to the world, when at so many levels we obviously do belong to the world? We eat and drink and breathe, fall in love and marry, buy and sell houses and take part in politics. Such passages have led some Christians to shun the world and to see Christianity only involved with the things of the Spirit. But other parts of scripture lead us to believe that creation is good and the material world has been sanctified by the incarnation of Jesus, who took flesh for our sake.

In Saint John’s Gospel, the world ‘world’ often seems to suggest not only the created order, but also a human society which has no place for God. Inevitably there is bound to be a clash between those for whom God is the all-embracing and abiding reality for whom the demands of God control the way we live, and those for whom such talk is meaningless or irrelevant. But even within the Christian world there is significant difference between those who believe that God has acted and revealed himself in Jesus and that revelation challenges us about the way we conduct our lives, and those for whom religion seems little more than a way of expressing our deepest human aspirations. Between those who think faith is a gift to be received, however challenging for us, and those who think we should always be acceptable to the world as a way of gaining followers.

It seems to me that Pope Benedict’s teaching often focuses on this; the need to stand up for the values of the Gospel in a secular world. We are, as Catholics, counter-cultural; we will often find ourselves against the world as far as the prevailing culture is concerned - which in the ‘post-Christian world’ does little more than pay lip-service to the Faith. We are beginning to learn this as never before, when a government tells us it values the Christian Faith, and yet is planning to bring forward legislation on marriage which will undermine some of its basic truths.

James and Daniel: it is in this world that you are called to minister and will have to live out your priestly calling. It is an office of great dignity, but of great challenges. Indeed, for the most part, the world does not understand what a Priest is. It will often be an heroic struggle, as there must be an element of sacrifice in your life, where your priestly ministry must be put before your own personal needs. For this you will need to put your life close to Christ. Indeed, in a few moments you will be encouraged to ‘model your lives on the mystery of the Lord’s cross’.

Of course, the words of that opening text apply to all Christian disciples, but they apply in a particular way to those who have been chosen to share in Christ’s Priesthood through ordination.

As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.

Jesus was aware that he had been sent by the Father, and he now send you out with the same mission, to preach the Gospel and administer the sacraments in a secular and sometimes hostile world. In the second volume of his book Jesus of Nazareth, our Holy Father Pope Benedict considers this passage and points out that consecration and mission are intrinsically linked. Sanctity or holiness belongs only to God, so to be consecrated means to be set apart for God, but also for his mission to the world. “Consecration”, he says, “means that God is exercising a total claim over this man, ‘setting him apart’ for himself, yet at the same time sending him out for the nations”. There is your commission.

No doubt you will both be feeling ill-equipped and unworthy of this great calling: and so you should, as none of us can be Priests because of our own goodness or in our own strength. A few years ago my attention was drawn to a poem by George Herbert, a seventeenth century Anglican Divine, which I hope is part of that Anglican Patrimony we bring to the Catholic Church. The poem is called Aaron, and in it he begins by describing the lovely robes of Aaron the priest, and goes on to lament the defects of his own life by comparison, and says ‘poor priest thus am I drest’.

In the following verse he gives the solution. The priest is not a priest in his own right, but acting as a representative of someone else. It is that persons character and goodness he ‘wears’ as if it were a garment. In him, he says, he is ‘well drest’.

Then he reveals that the person is Christ himself who is described in the Epistle to the Hebrews as ‘our great high priest’.

Christ is my only head,
My alone only heart and breast,
My only music, striking me ev’n dead;
That to the old Man I may rest
And be in him new drest.

James and Daniel: I hope you have prepared for this day with awe and trepidation. It is a great calling, but one all priests know they can never live up to - you will live with that knowledge all your life. But you need also to have confidence that, through his grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, you will be set apart to stand in his place as you present his sacrifice in the Mass, and in him you will be ‘well drest’.

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