4 July 2017

Country church-crawling

Ickford Church has wonderful vibes. Its Rector, 1911-1933, was Canon Vernon Staley, author of The Catholic Religion. This was a standard manual for Anglo-Catholics in the first part of the twentieth century, and went into a number of editions. Staley was pre-papalist; for example, he believed that our Lady was purified before her birth rather than conceived Immaculate. I suppose he would have been at home, dogmatically, in the forteenth century. Not good enough, I absolutely agree. But then, I gather that one Hans Kueng, despite his noisy heresies, still holds an unrevoked celebret. Is it really so very much better to devote a long life to subverting the Faith from within the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church than to work unremittingly outside those boundaries to teach the common people of England a version of the Faith with which S Thomas Aquinas might not have had much of a problem?

Staley was apparently not untouched by the more developed Catholicism of the later twentieth century; he secured Sir Ninian 'Patrimony' Comper to work on the glass at Ickford. A window depicting S Bede the Venerable is said to have Staley's own face. But Fr and Mrs Staley had a great grief. Their only son, aged 19, was killed in the last six weeks of the First World War. A candelabrum (with adjacent Latin inscription) hangs as a memorial; a Comper window of S John Baptist commemorates him (was the Baptist's face based on that of young Staley?); and a three-light Comper window, our Lady between two sainted soldier princes, is in his honour. Before he went back to the front for the last time, the young man coloured a representation of the royal arms which his father had carved (Canon Staley also himself carved the font cover and the tester over the altar).

Ickford retained Comper's services after Staley's death; a good window of S Thomas More, 1947. Perhaps Thomas Batterbury was responsible; a brass tablet commemorating him (1959) offers two Sapphic stanzas in honour of the Saint:

Te Pater, Thomas tuus adiuvante
pertulit duras hilaris catenas,
pertulit mortis faciem imminentis
martyriumque.

Cuius exemplum doceat fideles
ut petant laetis animis coronam;
sic in aeternae veniamus omnes
gaudia vitae.

Not great poetry; but unusually late for Latin verse in a monument; and an uncommon metre for this purpose. I wonder what the old school-marm of Lesbos would have made of it. And, most satisfying, these two stanzas and the window above them would have had Henry Tudor spitting nails ...

Beta double plus.

Oops ... I forgot the Recusant aspects of Ickford church. I'll polish that off a little later.

5 comments:

William Arthurs said...

Staley's Altar Service Book including Kalendar (1903) has been scanned in for ARCHIVE.ORG, I discovered yesterday, and is available as a downloadable ebook.

The illustrations are by the American artist Blanche McManus whose other work has been scanned in at KELLSCRAFT.COM.

It is praised by Stanley Morison in his bibliographic study English Prayer Books: an Introduction to the Literature of Christian Public Worship (1949 edn., p. 163).

Morison was a graphic designer, not a liturgist, so there is far more emphasis on the practicalities of book design and calligraphy/ typography through the ages, than on the shape of the liturgy except where this affects the contents and usability of the books concerned.

What would he have thought of today's rustling A4 hand-outs, and overhead projector slides?

Catholic Mission said...

The Catholic Religion

JULY 4, 2017
Rational and traditional Catholic apologetics based on Feeneyism and not Cushingism
http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2017/07/rational-and-traditional-catholic.html

Anon. said...

Thy St. Thomas, Father, by Thine assistance,
bore hard chains with cheerfulness undiminished
and he bore of imminent death the prospect,
martyrdom also.

Whose example, may it instruct the faithful
that the crown with spirits of joy they may seek
so we all may come to the joys in heaven
of life eternal.

Olaus Ouisconsinensis said...

"Is it really so very much better to devote a long life to subverting the Faith from within the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church than to work unremittingly outside those boundaries to teach the common people of England a version of the Faith with which S Thomas Aquinas might not have had much of a problem?"

I would respond to this as follows:

1.) Comparisons between heretical positions have no place here. Whether or not Staley's position is better than Kueng's isn't the question. The question is simply whether the person was orthodox. Each person's teaching is to be compared to the teaching of the Magisterium.

2.) In the end, I see little difference between the work of the two men. If Staley had wanted to be an orthodox Roman Catholic, nothing stopped him. By teaching a "version" of the Faith (sic) different from the one professed by the Church, his work was as subversive as Kueng's. He should just have taught the true Faith and communion with the Roman Catholic Church, period. Instead, he taught heresy.

3.) "with which S Thomas Aquinas might not have had much of a problem"

St. Thomas Aquinas would have had a very big problem with someone teaching a doctrine contrary to what the Pope has defined de Fide. Had St. Thomas lived in the 1900s, he would have amended his own teachings to take into account all intervening magisterial definitions. Staley was not obliged to conform to the magisterial definitions current in the 1300s. He was obliged to conform to all magisterial definitions made up until his own day.

Thank you.

Woody said...

Fr. Christiaan Kappes of the Byzantine Catholic Seminary has a paper on the doctrine of prepurification in S Gregory Nazianzen. http://www.academia.edu/12102676/Gregory_Nazianzen_s_Prepurified_Virgin_in_Tradition