Friday, 30 October 2009

Back to the Fold!

It’s almost inconceivable that there are still people who haven’t heard the biggest news story in the Anglican Communion in recent years, but just in case anyone missed it: St. Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge will be re-introducing the folded chasuble, or planeta plicata, for its Advent liturgies this year. Already I can hear gasps and whispers (and snarls from across the Thames) at this supposed liturgical innovation, but let me assure readers that it has been our custom at S. Magnus since time immemorial (allowing for a few extended black outs between the pontificates of Popes Clement VII and Benedict XVI) to vest the Deacon and Subdeacon at High Mass in the folded chasuble during penitential seasons such as Lent and Advent.

Perhaps because the original reason and method for folding chasubles became so obscure, the folded chasuble was the unfortunate victim of reforms to the Roman Rite of 1962 and fell entirely out of use. Largely seen as a curio to be hunted in the sacristies of great churches, the folded chasuble is now almost exclusively seen in use only at certain Anglican shrines such as S. Clement’s Philadelphia. This is largely because Pope Benedict’s motu proprio liberalising the celebration of Mass in the usus antiquior specifies that the 1962 Missal, being the last “Tridentine” Missal, should be used, along with its rubrics and instructions. However, many Anglicans of the “Missal school” have come to regard the 1958 English Missal as the last authentic expression of Tridentine liturgy in the Anglican tradition, and as such maintain certain customs and usages which were lost in later Roman Missals.

So it is my pleasure to announce that, God willing, the folded chasuble will once again be seen in S. Magnus, as an expression of our desire to continue the authentic traditions of our Fathers in the Catholic movement; as a sign of our commitment to offering the Liturgy of our predecessors, and for Advent, to express the penitential nature of that season in vivid liturgical vocabulary.

For more on the folded chasuble, click here.

This post is also an open invitation to people interested in serving at S. Magnus. We occasionally borrow servers for big events, but like most churches, we generally get by on a small but dedicated serving team, who nonetheless have other commitments and leave us short. If you live in London and think you might want to serve at S. Magnus, please contact us. This year we have been able to offer a High Mass on many Sundays, and hopefully we will be able to do so in Advent and Christmas. Still, we need people with expertise and an interest in traditional liturgy to help make our celebrations run smoother. Be assured you would not be trained in the idiosyncrasies of some “High Church”, but rather you would be serving THE Mass of Ages.

Le Retour

Well, the Indian Summer is probably over so, so I can't pretend to still be on holiday. I admit it! My summer break did overrun slightly into....Winter.....However, in response to various enquiries, requests and suggestions (and also the rumour that I had been kidnapped in Syria and detained in luxury at a bedouin encampment), I've decided to write another post or two. A few people have persuaded me not to let Ex Fide expire, and I'm pleased to think that a Blog such as this still has something to offer to online community of Anglican Catholics of which I proudly consider myself a member. The way in which the blogosphere has provided a forum for debate for Catholics in the Anglican Communion, as well as those interested in their spirituality and claims; and the way they have been united around these blogs despite being separated physically by often huge distances, was my primary motivation for starting this blog in the first place, and I hope that, God Willing, it will continue to be of interest to those people in the ever-changing world of Ango-Catholicism.

Since the announcement of the new Apostolic Constitution almost two weeks ago, much time has been given to discussion, largely speculative at this stage, about what the Constitution might look like. I am not critical of this type of discussion, because it is important for priests especially to work out under what conditions and with what provision they would be able to move, with their parishioners, to Roman jurisdiction. Nonetheless, I feel as though I must bow out of providing long pieces about what an Anglican Ordinariate might look like and what our relationship will be with our buildings and former co-parishioners. So much has changed in the Church, but so much has changed also for me as an individual and as a Christian. I think that if I am to continue to maintain this blog on my own, I will have to keep the focus very much off the macro and on the micro as it were. The blog was also intended to advertise a London Parish that is very much in a phase of growth, and which I believe is a unique and precious beacon of Catholic faith and practice in an area which, on Sundays, feels like an open air museum. For that reason I hope to keep my focus on events at S. Magnus, and on the way that our Catholic faith is lived and experienced on the parish and individual level.

Thanks again for everyone's interest in Ex Fide!