Thursday 30 August 2018

Kinquering Congs their Titles Take

I was reminded of this silly spoonerism of (attributed to Dr Spooner himself) when I read a long and trivial correspondence in the Anglican Ordinariate's site. 'What is the correect form of an address for a Bishop?' it asked. And every sort of answer was given. Apparently Catholic Bishops should be addresses as "Excellency", Anglican ones as "My Lord", and Anglican Archbishops as 'Your Grace'. Now you would suppose Americans would be rather more egalitarian, After all, they can address their Presidents simply as 'Mr President'. But the questioner and most of those joining in the conversation on the Ordinariate Site seem to be Americans. Why do you, dear American friends, get your knickers in such a twist over trivia? 

The Queen at her coronation flanked by the bishops of Durham and Bath&Wells.
A friend of mine when a young Ordinand of Canterbury Diocese had to meet his Bishop. This was Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury, who presided at the Queen's Coronation in 1953.  He addressed Dr Fisher as 'Father'. Fisher exploded. 'I am not your father. I am old enough to be your grandfather'. So the lad tried once more - 'I am sorry, My Lord' Again Fisher exploded. 'Nor am I "My Lord". I am "Your Grace" or "Sir". Fisher had been a Headmaster, and that was how many of his clergy saw him.
Archbishop Fisher and his wife arriving in America.
Bishops in England get called 'My Lord' because they are reckoned equal in status to members of the peerage; and at one time all diocesan bishops sat in the House of Lords. Even the holder of a new suffragan see (say Richboroough) could be addressed as 'My Lord'. Archbishops, being highest in rank, are also put on a par with the highest ranking peers, and so like Dukes they are addressed as 'Your Grace'.
A Duke's Coronet
But what flummery and nonsense it all is. Fisher was the last Archbishop to insist on the wearing of gaiters, frock coats and hats with strings on. When I was given the title of "Monsignor" in the Catholic Church, the citation from the Vatican was accompanied by a letter telling me what Monsignori might no longer wear. no elaorate dressing up, no buckled shoes, no mozettas, feraiolas &c. Just a plain black cassock with coloured piping and buttons and a plain coloured cincture - no frills and furbelows, no fringes. For which we should all be grateful. Remember whose we are and whom we serve; the one who said "The kings of the Gentiles Lord it over them. It is not to be so with you".  Bishops are not meant to be Lords over their flock, and they are seldom Excellent. But if they win the title "Father" from those they serve, they should rejoice.

Wednesday 8 August 2018

An Ordinariate Day

With our Pastor, Fr Keith Robinson, away I have been holding the fort for a few days. This morning with my wife Jane and I went to Braemar Lodge, a residential home just about half a mile away, to conduct their monthly ecumenical service.
Braemar Lodge
We took the Transfiguration as the theme, and used some familiar passages from the Book of Common Prayer. So we began with the Collect for Purity (from the beginning of the Eucharistic Rite - also in the Ordinariate Use) and concluded with the General Thanksgiving. We also prayed the 'Hail Mary' together. I had printed these on a single sheet, along with a few verses of two hymns; "'Tis good Lord, to be here" and "Now  thank we all our God".  Jane read the Lukan version of the Transfiguration, and many of the residents and staff who were present joined in prayers and hymns with enthusiasm. It is good for the Ordinariate to be able to use its experience of both Anglican and Catholic worship to bring together.well-remembered prayers from both traditions
Then this evening I said Mass according to the Ordinariate Use in the little Pugin church of St Osmund in Salisbury. As usual, there were a few members of the Parish who joined us. We commemorated St Dominic, and prayed for the Dominican Sisters at Sway. They were particularly supportive of us in the Ordinariate when I lived near them in Lymington. Altogether a very good and happy day.