St Andrews + Edinburgh

Bede: The Life and Miracles of Saint Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindesfarne (721)



AT the same time the plague made great ravages in those parts, so that there were scarcely any inhabitants left in villages and places which had been thickly populated, and some towns were wholly deserted. The holy father Cuthbert, therefore, went round his parish, most assiduously ministering the word of God, and comforting those few who were left. But being arrived at a certain village, and having there exhorted all whom he found there, he said to his attendant priest, ” Do you think that any one remains who has need that we should visit and converse with him? or have we now seen all here, and shall we go elsewhere? ” The priest looked about, and saw a woman standing afar off, one of whose sons had died but a little time before, and she was now supporting another at the point of death, whilst the tears trickling down her cheek bore witness to her past and present affliction. He pointed her out to the man of God, who immediately went to her, and, blessing the boy, kissed him, and said to his mother, ” Do not fear nor be sorrowful; for your child shall be healed and live, and no one else of your household shall die of this pestilence.” To the truth of which prophecy the mother and son, who lived a long time after that, bore witness.

University_of_St_Andrews_coat_of_arms.svgJohn Smeaton reports that St. Andrews University is planning to follow in the footsteps of Planned Parenthood by honouring Hilary Clinton this September.

St Andrews Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson said:

“As one of the most influential women in the world, Hillary Clinton, as stateswoman, senator, and policymaker never shied away from tackling difficult questions, working to make the world a better place, inspiring others, speaking out for the voiceless (!) and striving ever to excel. We are honoured that she will participate in our celebrations.”

The predictable rejoicing from the enemies of the Church over the resignation of Cardinal O’Brien centres around his alleged hypocrisy.  The Guardian has gleefully proclaimed that the Church has “lost all authority”, and calls for “a full-scale investigation into the structure and leadership of the Scottish Catholic church”.  Then, we are told: “the commission to oversee this must be headed by an overseas cardinal of impeccable character and must comprise clergy and lay people in equal measure.”

Hypocrisy is generally defined as “the state of promoting or trying to enforce standards, attitudes, lifestyles virtues, beliefs, principles, etc., that one does not actually hold” or “a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.”  Peter Kreeft in his book Back to Virtue points out that the man who commits adultery is in a better position than the man who thinks and teaches that adultery is sometimes justified: the former is simply a sinner; the latter says “there is no sin.”

Cardinal O’Brien’s remarks today suggest that the allegations against him are true, and that he has fallen short of the Gospel.  This, from what I have read, is an admission of personal sinfulness rather than of hypocrisy: his steadfast defense of marriage still stands and will surely count in his favour on the Day of Judgement; more than can be said for the many bishops who have either remained silent or who have palliated the Church’s teaching to such an extent that it is unrecognisable as such.  “All have sinned, and have fallen short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.”  (Rom. 3: 23-24)

This is all very strange. Why have these priests attacked Cardinal O’Brien now? Supposedly because of the conclave. Why then did they not accuse him before the last conclave. Is it because of his opposition to ‘Gay Marriage’? Why then did they not bring it up earlier? His opposition has been vociferous. They could have been waiting until Salmond campaign for ‘Gay Marriage’ reaches a more critical point but O’Brien was going anyway in few weeks so there was no point in waiting any longer.

Cardinal O’Brien was certainly seen as quite a liberal until he was elevated to the Sacred College. The then Cardinal Ratzinger imposed upon him an additional paragraph to his oath of office including the words “I accept and intend to defend the law on ecclesiastical celibacy as it is proposed by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church”. Cardinal O’Brien seemed to have a genuine conversion after making this oath. His defence of the the Church’s moral teaching has been almost ferocious and he has been facilitative of the extraordinary form in Edinburgh. Contrary to what some poisonous commentators on the BBC have suggested there was no incentive for him to pretend to hold these views. He had nowhere else to go. He was never going to be elected Pope and the job isn’t in the gift of the incumbent anyway. It was all the more sad therefore to see him calling for an impossible change in the Church’s discipline of clerical celibacy ahead of the new conclave. There is a sad irony in the fact that this misfortune has come upon him so swiftly after his departure from the terms of his oath. Regardless of the truth or falsity of the allegations let us pray that that reflection is profitable for him and that he may still receive the reward of his labours since 2003.



In Luke 20:27-40 we receive the fullest account of why the blessed neither marry nor are given in marriage.

And there came to him some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is any resurrection, and they asked him, Saying: Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man’s brother die, having a wife, and he leave no children, that his brother should take her to wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children. And the next took her to wife, and he also died childless. And the third took her. And in like manner all the seven, and they left no children, and died. Last of all the woman died also. In the resurrection therefore, whose wife of them shall she be? For all the seven had her to wife. And Jesus said to them: The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they that shall be accounted worthy of that world, and of the resurrection from the dead, shall neither be married, nor take wives. Neither can they die any more: for they are equal to the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. Now that the dead rise again, Moses also shewed, at the bush, when he called the Lord, The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; For he is not the God of the dead, but of the living: for all live to him. And some of the scribes answering, said to him: Master, thou hast said well. And after that they durst not ask him any more questions.

God is the living one. Those who would approach him, in this life or the next, must divest themselves of death. Since the Fall marriage has been inextricably tied up with death. Before the Fall all who were born would have been born into grace and eternal life and reproduction existed to make up the number of the elect. After the Fall reproduction is required, as with the beasts, just to keep the human race in existence. All are now born into sin as children of wrath and most die in sin as children of wrath. The elect are born now not from the womb but from the font. All the faithful who are, since that second birth (God willing) no longer children of the world, must strive to live poverty, chastity and obedience so far as it is given them. Whether in the monastery, the presbytery or in the sacrament of marriage they form part of a common struggle to keep unstained our baptismal robe when we appear before the Lord in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and at His return in glory. For the the Christian spouses a necessarily imperfect struggle is made possible by the sacrament of marriage to restore the sanctity of the union of our first parents before the Fall when marriage existed only to beget children of God. For the Monk, engaging in spiritual combat in a state of perfection, life is directed with an undivided heart to the reality which that great sign represents. The priest approaches the Living One in the holy terror of the Mass. With him we stand before that splendid outrage in our common priesthood as children of God and children of the resurrection striving for chastity according to our state.

Even the married faithful need to be willing to separate themselves from each other if fidelity to Christ requires it of them. “And there went great multitudes with him. And turning, he said to them: If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:25-26). This is not just a negative requirement. The greatest love, even spousal love, respects and recognises that the beloved exists for herself and ultimately for God. In the last sentence of A Grief Observed C. S. Lewis meditates on the moment of his wife’s death quoting the moment at which Dante and Beatrice part at the end of the Divine Comedy: “How wicked it would be, if we could, to call the dead back!  She said not to me but to the chaplain, ‘I am at peace with God.’  She smiled, but not at me.  Poi si torno all, eterna fontana.” ‘Then she turned herself back toward the eternal fountain’. This moment of separation occurs when every religious enters the cloister and for every priest when he steps outside the camp and into the sanctuary of the Living God.

Cardinal O’Brien has sadly wobbled on priestly celibacy. It is of course quite false to say that Divine Law permits priests to marry. Divine Law forbids priests to marry. The Church will not allow priests to marry unless they have first been forever forbidden to exercise their priestly functions. Outside of the Roman Patriarchate other Churches sui iuris allow men who are already married to receive sacred orders up to and including the presbyterate but not the episcopate. In fact, there are regulations, still arguably in force in at least some of these Churches, requiring married priests to abstain from the use of marriage for a certain period prior to the celebration of the Eucharist. The observance of these is naturally difficult for a married priest alone in a parish celebrating the Divine Liturgy every day.

A difficult question arises concerning the status of these provisions. Is the use of marriage by priests (for this is the real issue not marriage as such) permitted by Divine Law but forbidden by the Latin Church as an ascetical discipline; or is the use of marriage forbidden by Divine Law but in such a way that the Church may dispense? We know this second possibility, of dispensing from some precepts of Divine Law, exists in the case of marriage between a baptised and a non-baptised spouse.

What is clear is that both the East and the West hold it to be in some way better for a priest to abstain from the use of marriage. No married man has ever been consecrated to the episcopate. As mentioned, the married priests of e.g. the Byzantine ritual Church have traditionally been required to abstain from the use of marriage before the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.

What makes the question hard to resolve is the fact that respect and enthusiasm for St Paul’s teaching on perfect chastity in  1 Corinthians 7 was so general in the earliest age of the Church that the question of whether perfect continence was required for clergy or just taken for granted seems not to have even arisen. More energy was expended in the second century dealing with those who in their enthusiasm for chastity or because of Gnostic tendencies forbade the use of marriage to the baptised in general.

Nevertheless, there exists direct and implied scriptural grounds for the discipline of priestly celibacy. The most explicit statement is Titus 1:8 where St Paul says that a presbyter or bishop must be continent. It is interesting that just before this, as elsewhere, he insists that he must be the husband of only one wife. This comment has often been misinterpreted by casual readers to indicate precisely that that clerical continence was not required in the Apostolic Church. In fact, it leads to the opposite conclusion. Why would second marriage have been forbidden except because it indicated a person was unable or unwilling to practice the continence the priestly state requires?

There is an incident recorded by the church historian Socrates (who died in the mid-fifth century) that supposedly occurred at the First Council of Nicaea when a famously holy and continent bishop Paphnutius dissuaded the  Council Fathers from imposing continence on the presbyterate. There is considerable dispute over the authenticity of this incident for which Socrates is the earliest authority. Those who uphold it obviously conclude that no such discipline existed earlier than 325. This is often seen a strong argument against the conclusion that priestly celibacy is Apostolic and of Divine Law. Once again this conclusion arises from a reading of the evidence through secular modern lenses. The truly interesting fact about the alleged incident is that the passing of a decree enforcing presbyteral continence was nearly passed on the nod until Paphnutius’s supposed intervention. What this tells us is that even if the story is accurate clerical continence was so widespread that its enforcement in ecclesiastical positive law would have been (but for one highly persuasive and unexpected intervention) uncontroversial.  This strengthens the idea that the practice of clerical continence is of Apostolic origin.

Of course we must conclude that by the time Socrates wrote in Constantinople in the fifth century clerical continence cannot have been universal else his assertion of the story (regardless of its accuracy) would make no sense. In fact, for an orthodox Catholic the origin of the discipline of clerical continence in Divine Law is not a matter of doubt because of the clear teaching on this subject given by Pope Siricius in 385,

Let us come now to the most sacred orders of the clergy, which we find so abused and so disorderly throughout your provinces to the injury of venerable religion that we ought to say in the words of Jeremias: Who will water to my head, or a fountain of tears to my eyes? And I will weep for this people day and night (Jer. 9:1). . . . For we have learned that very many priests and Levites of Christ, after long periods of their consecration, have begotten offspring from their wives as well as by shameful intercourse, and that they defend their crime by this excuse, that in the Old Testament it is read that the faculty of procreating was given to the priests and the ministers.

Whoever that follower of sensual desires is let him tell me now: . . . Why does [the Lord] forewarn those to whom the holies of holies were to be entrusted saying: Be ye holy, because I your Lord God am holy [Lev. 20:7;1 Pet. 1:16]? Why also were the priests ordered to dwell in the temple at a distance from their homes in the year of their turn? Evidently for this reason that they might not be able to practice carnal intercourse with their wives, so that shining with purity of conscience they might offer an acceptable gift to God. . . .

Therefore also the Lord Jesus, when He had enlightened us by His coming, testifies in the Gospel, that he came to fulfill the Law, not to destroy it [Matt. 5:17]. And so He has wished the beauty of the Church, whose spouse He is, to radiate with the splendour of chastity, so that on the day of judgment, when He will have come again, He may be able to find her without spot or wrinkle [Eph. 5:27] as He instituted her through His Apostle. All priests and levites are bound by the indissoluble law of these sanctions, so that from the day of our ordination, we give up both our hearts and our bodies to continence and chastity, provided only that through all things we may please our God in these sacrifices which we daily offer.”But those who are in the flesh,” as the vessel of election says, “cannot please God” [Rom. 8:8].

But those, who contend with an excuse for the forbidden privilege, so as to assert that this has been granted to them by the Old Law, should know that by the authority of the Apostolic See they have been cast out of every ecclesiastical office, which they have used unworthily, nor can they ever touch the sacred mysteries, of which they themselves have deprived themselves so long as they give heed to impure desires. And because existing examples warn us to be on our guard for the future should any bishop, priest, or deacon be found such, which henceforth we do not want, let him now understand that every approach to indulgence is barred through us, because it is necessary that the wounds which are not susceptible to the healing of warm lotions be cut out with a knife. (Denzinger 89)

Two questions remain. First, why did clerical continence become controversial by the end of the fourth century (and de facto optional in e.g. Constantinople) when it was apparently so uncontroversial at the beginning? Secondly, what are we to say of the married clergy of the Eastern Catholic Churches and those ordained after reception from the ‘Church’ ‘of England’ if clerical continence is of Divine Law?

In the answer to the second question lies the answer to the first. All these clergy have in common that they either personally or as Churches have spent significant periods outside of the visible hierarchical structure of the Church. Of the Eastern Catholics only the Italo-Greeks have never been in schism. The Melkites were in a rather confused position for a long time due to Antiochene disapproval/ambiguity towards the Cerularian Schism. The Syro-Malabars were caught up with the Persian Nestorians for geographical rather than theological reasons. Nevertheless, it is clear that all these Churches were, for long periods at least, headed by bishops who resisted the Roman primacy. Marriage is a symbol of the union of Christ and His Church – the Sacramentum Magnum. This union is effected by Sanctifying Grace. As Pope Boniface VIII solemnly taught in Unam Sanctam (1302) outside of the Church, defined by submission to the Roman Pontiff, “there is neither salvation nor the forgiveness of sins”. The reason chastity is superior to marriage is that it orders us more perfectly to the reality, the nuptial union of Christ and the Church, of which marriage is the symbol. Outside the Roman obedience the symbol and the reality both perish. Sanctifying grace cannot be had outside the Church and the indissolubility of marriage and obligatory clerical continence swiftly pass away. It is noticeable that those Eastern Catholics with little or very little history of real schism have the strongest tradition of clerical celibacy. By the end of the fourth century the entire Church had been rocked by the Arian Crisis for nearly seventy years. Many individuals and particular churches had been separated from the See of Rome and the true faith for long periods. The Monks, most famously St Antony, were a notable bulwark of Catholic orthodoxy. St Paul forbade the ordination of those who had been married twice because such could not be expected to maintain the continence of the clerical state. What is a restored schismatic individual or church but one who on the deepest level has been compelled to marry twice: once when he or she was baptised and once agin when restored to communion with Christ’s Vicar on Earth?

The fact that clerical continence, though of Divine Law, is dispensable bears witness to the goodness of marriage. The discipline of liturgical marital abstinence in the Eastern Churches (which requires some renewed emphasis) bears witness to the superiority of continence. The married clergy of the East also remind us of the fact that continence is not uniquely clerical. It is the monk who is the paradigm of the chaste life not the cleric. All the faithful are called to practice poverty, chastity and obedience in spirit and in fact so far as is given to them by grace and providence. For the clergy the fittingness is so intense, because of their proximity to the Holy Sacrifice, that it constitutes a norm that must be dispensed only when pressing pastoral need requires it. In this era when the true nature of marriage is under assault on every side and chastity despised, urgent pastoral need demands that the largest Patriarchate  in the Church the Church of Rome blessed with the Supreme Pastor as its proximate head preserve inviolate the Apostolic tradition of clerical continence and boldly profess the sanctity of virginity, continence and marriage to this corrupted dying age.

I came across this claim in a local history written in 1924: Newcastle-upon-Tyne by F. J. C. Hearshaw. In the year 1138 Newcastle was occupied by King David I of Scotland (Feast Day May 24th) it did not return to the Kingdom of England until 1157. The New Castle on the ruins of the Roman fortress of Pons Aelius had been built in 1080 by Robert II of Normandy eldest son of William the Conqueror and hero of the First Crusade. David’s family already had associations with Newcastle because his Grandmother and Aunt fled there after the death of Malcolm III and St Margaret in 1093. Malcolm III was killed at Alnwick with his eldest son on the way back from a campaign in Northumbria during which he had attended the foundation of the new Cathedral Church at Durham. Hearshaw continues…
“Queen Margaret of Scotland (sister of Edgar Atheling) survived this double loss only four days, and Scotland became the prey of civil war and anarchy. In these circumstances Margaret’s aged mother, Agatha, and her sister Christina, fled to England, their native land, sought shelter in Newcastle, and there ‘were espoused to Christ’ in the newly founded Nunnery of St Bartholomew, first of Newcastle’s religious houses.”

This Nunnery was destroyed at the Reformation. The indoor Granger Market and Nun Street mark the land where it once stood. Now Hearshaw is certainly wrong about England being “their native land” as neither of them can have been born there. In fact the place of Agatha’s birth and how she fits into the great extended family of saints surrounding St Stephen of Hungary and St Henry the Emperor is a great historical mystery. Agatha lived out her remaining years as a nun in Newcastle but her daughter did not stay in Newcastle. Christina went on to be the Abbess of Romsey where she educated Malcolm and Margaret’s daughter Edith (later renamed Matilda) by whose marriage to Henry I the royal line of Wessex was united to that of Normandy. This union was later threatened by the survival of only one child of Henry I, his daughter Matilda. Although the Barons agreed to accept her as heir before Henry I’s death, when the King actually died most rallied to her cousin Stephen (famous coward of the First Crusade) sparking a protracted civil war. This helped to provide a pretext for expansion southward by David I (son of Malcolm III and uncle of Matilda)…

“In 1137 a muster of local troops at Newcastle prevented David from pressing his attack far to the south. In 1138, however, his host reached Northallerton in Yorkshire; but there it met with a heavy defeat at the hands of the militia of Yorkshire in the famous ‘Battle of the Standard.’ Nevertheless, though this English victory saved Yorkshire from Scottish occupation, it did nothing to relieve Northumberland, nearly all of whose castles were by this time in David’s possession. The hopeless Stephen, distracted by civil war and debilitated by baronial treachery, felt constrained to make peace on his adversary’s terms. Hence by the Treaty of Durham (1139), the much coveted Earldom of Northumberland was revived and conferred upon Henry, David’s eldest son and heir. Newcastle was not included in this grant. In spite of that fact, however, the Scots took possession of it and held it for some eighteen years.
The Scottish occupation was a notable episode in the history of the town. It was quite clear that David regarded Northumberland as permanently incorporated into his kingdom, and many things indicate that Newcastle was soon in fair way to supersede Edinburgh as his capital and seat of government. He himself was much in the town; he showed it peculiar favour; he issued his laws therefrom; he adopted its customs as models for the four Scottish boroughs of Edinburgh, Stirling, Roxburgh and Berwick (hence the inclusion of the customs of Newcastle in the Scottish Statute Books); he caused, it is supposed, the old English church near the White Cross to be refounded and rededicated to the Scottish St Andrew; he refounded the nunnery of which his grandmother and his aunt had been inmates. From Newcastle he extended his wide authority over Northern England. Before the end of 1141 (when the cause of Stephen appeared to be ruined and that of Matilda triumphant) he had secured Carlisle, and had made himself master of Cumberland, Westmorland, and a large part of Lancashire. A dependent of his moreover acquired the palatine bishopric of Durham, and the largest dreams of Scottish expansion seemed likely to be realised.
Three deaths, however – viz., those of Henry, Earl of Northumberland, in 1152; of David himself in 1153; and of Stephen in 1154 – completely changed the political situation, and prepared the way for the English recovery of Newcastle and North.”
Of course, the Scottish Kings were rather more English than the Kings of England at this time as they represented the elder branch of the house of Wessex. Hearshaw is probably wrong about St Andrew’s as well. It is likely that it was always dedicated to the Apostle on account of the devotion to him in the region stemming from St Wilfred’s translation of relics of Andrew from Rome to Hexham in the seventh century. In fact, I am reliably informed, it is quite likely that the relics of St Andrew in Fife and the consequent dedication to Scotland to him probably stems from the theft of some or all of these relics in one of the many raids of the period or their transportation to Fife by a disgruntled deposed Abbott of Hexham. In fact, it was not until after the period discussed here that the term Scotia was used to include the region bellow the Firths of Clyde and Forth. The eastern part of this region still being seen as Northumbrian, giving rise to the surprising fact that St Cuthbert is the patron of Edinburgh and St Andrew of Newcastle.

[Not the world’s most thought-out piece of writing]

I may have said already that I am in love with the diocese of Frejus-Toulon (healthier for the spiritual life than being in love with the bishop :))  My experience being limited to the Wonderful Petites Soeurs de la Consolation du Sacre-Coeur et de la Sainte Face and the visitors to their guest refectory (passing or longterm), I may not have the full picture, but the more I read, the more enamoured am I. The author of the two passages below, which I have roughly englished, is mostly concerned with the re-integration of the old rite and the folk who had to meet in hotel rooms and so on for years, but what gladdens my heart is the confirmation of what I saw and heard this Christmas – a bishop who is not only prepared to put up with this or that movement if he has to, but who (while not ignoring the fact that many of them have faults, and sometimes serious ones) is mostly interested in spreading the Gospel, and for whom maintenance or transformation of the internal status quo is not a question in itself [edited to add a bit I forgot:], and who therefore actively welcomes these initiatives, works with them, and encourages them to work together.

Even if our interest in, e.g.,  spreading a return to the celebration of Mass ad orientem is entirely (or even mostly) motivated by a desire to bring people to Christ, or help them come closer to Him, the clouds of dust raised by the discussion, and the time taken up by it, can leave the Main Point of the Whole Business obscured and neglected. From what I’ve seen, the neocats have some extremely serious problems in their theory and in their practice. But if the bishop were to ban them, who would evangelise the people whom the neocats have reached? And so on for so many movements (in both sense of the word), including the frickin’ loony monarchist maniple-obsessed traddy fringe, the medj-heads, the charismatics. the liberal sisters whose community prayer involves Taize tapes, … who all share this problem, of their particular “thing” obscuring and deforming the understanding of the faith, particularly of the church. Yet for the most part they are all admirable in the ways in which they are faithful. Terrifying older Irish liberal religious sister who’s pulled more than one person out of alcoholism, the charismatic groups where broken people grow back into themselves, the medj-heads who fast and pray for the conversion of sinners, the people with no label because they “just”  serve Mass or pray the rosary in their parish every Sunday for 43 years.

But if a diocese is chiefly concerned with the salvation of souls and the glory of God, then while disagreements over liturgy will not lose their seriousness (as someone points out, “It’s all the same Mass” is exactly why every single thing about it is crucially important), and everyone in it is able to work together to that end, then the One Thing that Matters is made luminously clear by the very fact of being  held in perfect accord by the (sometimes violently) disagreeing.

“Exemples de Communion”, la Nef nr 183 (June 2007):

Two recent diocesan experiences lead me to some reflections concerning the liberalisation of the traditional liturgy and the question of communion. The first example: the Communion and Evangelisation weekend organised by the diocese of Toulon last 28th and 29th April, which saw the active participation of numerous communities representative of the diversity of the church in France today: charismatic (the Beatitudes, Emmanuel, Chemin Neuf …), “classical” (the Saint-Martin community, the Sisters of the Consolation), or traditionalists, and of lay people coming also from hugely differing backgrounds. Despite this diversity, despite the fac that the liturgical celebrations in the current rite, entirely dignified, did not correspond to that which is habitually celebrated in the “classical” or “traditionalist” communities, an awesome [foul Americanism that, slanginess apart, seems to be the best equivalent of “formidable” in this case] communion ruled during these two days consecrated to mission and to the affirmation of the faith. … Bishop Rey devoted the same energy to getting to meet the different participants, to form contacts in regard to concrete projects, going from one to the other without ever making any difference, neither from the speaker’s platform, nor in the individual contacts between “traddies”, “happy-clappies” [? – “chachas”] or other, obviously very simplistic, labels, which I employ here only for reasons of commodity.

Toulon encore“, la Nef nr 186, October 2007:

….This Saturdy 22nd September … a diocesan bishop, Monsignor Rey, ordained, in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, in his cathedral, in the presence of several dozen diocesan priests and seminarians, the first priest of a new traditionalist community, and subsequently named him curate of the personal parish already entrusted to that community, the Missionaries of Divine Mercy. [I’ve just discovered something else wonderful. More soon.]

In itself, this is a first in France in more than one way. But undoubtedly the most striking thing during the ceremony and afterwards was the profound communion and fraternity of these priests of greatly differing origins, around one shepherd, who was there truly as a father, a shepherd loving his flock, loving them with the love of Christ. The event itself aside, it was this that was most tangible, and made clearly visible the fruits which the motu proprio Summorum Pontificium can produce, that the “extraordinary” take its place in the “ordinary” life of the dioceses. The young minister of the extraordinary rite found himself naturally received by his diocesan peers without any reservation, with being required to proclaim that he is not an “enemy of the Council”, without his liturgical choice making him some kind of plague-carrier in regard to the current pastoral plan. “Vision idyllique” [not sure what the tone of that is in French] some say, “Monsignor Rey again” say others, as though his truly paternal attitude were some passing eccentricity. Nothing of the sort!

MargaretMalcolmWeddingByPutterToday* is the feast of St Margaret, who wanted to be a nun but the rest of her refugee family, washed up with her in Edinburgh, explained to her that really it would significantly improve their security and future prospects and so on and so forth if she didn’t turn down the love-struck Malcolm III, seeing as he was the king. So Margaret married Malcolm, had eight children, and did many other things, as recounted by among others her fishy confessor.

Random Fact! Malcolm laid the foundation stone of Durham Cathedral (since he had some raiding and looting to do in the vicinity anyway).

The picture is from St Margaret’s Church in Dunfermline, a print by Polo-Scot Jurek Putter.** The same image is used in one of six small panels making up a small part of another, epic, print of St Margaret by the same artist, a copy of which Aelianus obtained through a quite amazing chain of providential events and gave to me some years ago. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of it, but it is seated on the sofa across from me.

*Yes, o sad mad trads! Today! On account of my tie with a Scottish diocese, and the Scottish dioceses have always, afaik, had St Margaret today. She was in the summer only in the universal calendar. (I could be wrong, I am going by my crumbling 1950s missal.)

** More weird coincidences. Here is a documentary (in verrrrry Scots accent) about Putter’s work – apparently his dad was from Lwów/L’viv/Lvov. Now, that does not make him Ukrainian, and indeed he was not. Still, Lvov is Where the Ukrainians Are, and last year I came across someone claiming that St Margaret had Ukrainian ancestry. So there you go.

According  to the Glaswegian, all people can ever tell you about Ven. Margaret Sinclair. Who gets a mention, and a photo, in a post about St Colette on the Vultus Christi blog. So you can judge her eyes for yourself. Her relics are in the church of St Patrick in the Cowgate.

 I don’t know if the Redemptorists are still perpetuating the liturgical terrorism that they were a couple of years ago, so you might not want to risk making it your Sunday Mass. 

(A friend of mine went, an irenic chap who lends me books about gentleness and is soooooooo not into all this liturgy stuff, just gets on with giving up his nights and one free day of the week to help the homeless and to collect money for pro-life charities. It got as far as, I think, the gospel. “And Berenike, y’ken ah think y’r obsessed wi’ the whole liturgy thing – but it wis too much, ah couldnae stand i’ any more, so ah left, and, (chortle), whi’ d’ye think?” “no idea, go on!” “ma car wis boxed in, ah hud te wait till they’d finished!”)*

The Venerable worked as a French polisher, I seem to remember. She didn’t have time to eat breakfast between Mass and work, so would go fasting until lunchtime. Not that impressive if one is thinking about Charles de Foucauld and his one slice of toast a day. But have you never chosen lunch or a sandwich over keeping the frankly minimal one hour “fast-ette”, fastinetto, that is all that is currently required?

*My attempt at dialect makes him sound like a farmer out of a James Herriot book – just imagine a sort of normal Edinburgh accent, not a Morningside one.

I remember a parish bulletin from Edinburgh in which there were Irish dancing courses and cake-bakes, but not a single annoucement for a prayer group.

Robert Mazurek interviewing the new archbishop of Warsaw in Dziennik, 7-9 April 2007, pp 16-17.

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