Wednesday 21 July 2021

Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment: Mass last Saturday

Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment: Mass last Saturday

Mass last Saturday

As I finished saying Mass last Saturday, the morning after Traditionis custodes, the thought struck me: That is the Mass, those were the words, for which our Anglo-Catholic Fathers were persecuted ... in some cases, imprisoned ... An Argentinian pope may be very different from an English former Public School head master, Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury, but how like they both are in their hatred of the Old Mass, and of those who celebrate it.

But then a different and less unworthy thought took over: Those Anglo-Catholic clergy, at worst, spent but a few weeks in prison ... I should be thinking rather of the English Seminary Martyrs ... the rack, the rope, the knife ... the heads on the spikes over the City Gates, the carrion birds, the smell on the wind ...

Then, familiar words of Gregory Dix ... I've quoted them before: "This very morning I did this with a set of texts which has not changed by more than a few syllables since Augustine used those very words at Canterbury on the third Sunday of Easter in the summer after he landed."

Then ... all those Masses during all those Persecutions in all those blood-stained Enlightenments. So many holy priests ... so many gaolers bribed to smuggle in the necessities for a last Mass ... Te igitur for the last time ... blinking, as they took you out into the sunlight ...

There swept over me an enormous sense of privilege; a sense (this is not sarcasm) of gratitude to our Holy Father for reminding me of the wonder of those words which I say every morning. Words so ancient, yet, every morning, so radiant, so new. Words that remake ones inmost being.

Things rarely seem as precious as they do when there are attempts to rob you of them.

God be praised, now and for ever, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.