Monday, October 04, 2004

I am not an Anglican, nor was meant to be...

... but on occasion I derive great pleasure from Project Canterbury, an electic repository of Anglican texts. My latest discovery is the gently humourous My Curates by 'A Rector'. Despite being over 100 years old, I suspect that many of Rev. John Smith's observations could be applied to not a few Catholic Curates. (I believe several young clergymen affect what is termed "a clerical voice," which they trust in time to exchange for an episcopal one.
I was particularly taken by the following anecdote:
At the age of thirty I accepted a small living in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of our Cathedral. After some years, the parish of S. Peter's, Mulworth, was presented to me. From this I have retired to my present Cure, which is in the gift of our Bishop. For him I have a sincere regard, and I think it but proper and courteous to address him as "My Lord." Why should I not? It is a customary mode of address, and a term of respect due to the chief Pastor of the Diocese. The title is given to Roman Catholic prelates out of deference to the office of Bishop; so that, apart from legal arguments or Parliamentary considerations, there need be no qualms of conscience in using the phrase. And if we come to derivations, what is the meaning of "Lord" but "bread-dispenser?" Surely such is a most applicable designation for a Bishop.

Of course, there can be a lavish overplus in the use of the expression, which savours of obsequiousness as well as pleonasm. For example, when dining lately with our Bishop, I heard a New Zealand Missionary say, "My Lord, what is your Lordship's opinion of the Bill your Lordship is introducing into Convocation?" Nobody disliked the redundancy more than did the Bishop himself. The question reminded me—for alas! profane thoughts will beset us—of the eighteenth clause in the Athanasian Creed.

That 18th clause (I hardly need tell you) reads 'And yet they [the Persons of the Blessed Trinity] are not three Lords but one Lord.'
Consulting my 1953 edition Rituale Romanum (purchased in a moment of weakness) I note that the Athanasian Creed (or the 'Quicumque vult' as we Catholics are wont to call it) formed part of the Ritus Exorcizandi Obsessos A Daemonio. It was (is) recited immediately after the Magnificat and Benedictus which follow the prayer of exorcism. According to this article critical of the 1999 rite of exorcism this use of the Athanasian creed in the pre-1999 rite was the last surviving liturgical use of the 'Quicumque vult'.
On a completely unrelated note...
The photo archives of Corriere della Sera include a picture of this laudable Chinese religious practice. There they burn (amongst other things) mobile phones and video games as offerings to their dead - I've often thought that in a Christian context that phones which ring in church should be consigned to the flames.
Also from last month is this curious attempt by Brazilian soldiers to make an image of Pope John Paul II.

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