Friday, 25 December 2009
Sunday, 20 December 2009
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
An interesting fact concerning the church at Croome: Capability Brown had it demolished and rebuilt in a more picturesque location at some distance from the house. Presumably the earls preferred to keep their religion "at arm's length" so to speak!
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Monday, 14 December 2009
Since looking out "A Childe my Choyce", for my cards this year, I have been completely smitten with it. Can there be a more perfect poem in the English language?
Whose hart no thought, whose tong no word, whose hand no deed defilde.
I praise him most I love him best all prayse and love is his
While him I love, in him I live, and cannot lyve amisse
Loves sweetest mark, lawdes highest theme, mans most desired light
To love him life to leave him death to live in Him delighte
He myne by gift I his by debt thus ech to other Dewe
First frende he was best frende he is, all tymes will try Him trewe.
Though yonge yet wise though small yet stronge though man yet God he is
As wise he knows, as stronge he can as God He loves to blesse
His knowledge rules his strength defendes his love doth cherish all
His birth our joye, his life our light, his death our end of thrall
Alas he weepes he sighes he pantes yet do his Angels sing
Out of his teares his sighes and throbbs doth bud a joyfull springe
Almighty babe whose tender armes can force all foes to flye
Correct my faultes, protect my life direct me when I die.
St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-95)
Sunday, 13 December 2009
Saturday, 12 December 2009
Friday, 11 December 2009
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Monday, 7 December 2009
Sunday, 6 December 2009
Saturday, 5 December 2009
Thursday, 3 December 2009
In a somer seson, whan softe was the sonne,
I shoop me into shroudes as I a sheep were,
In habite as an heremite unholy of werkes
Wente wide in this world wondres to here.
Ac on a May morwenynge on Malverne hill
Me bifel a ferly, of Fairye me thoghte.
I was wery forwandred and wente me to reste
Under a brood bank by a bourne syde;
And as I lay and lenede and loked on the watres,
I slombred into a slepyng, it sweyed so murye.
Thanne gan I meten a merveillous swevene --
That I was in a wildernesse, wiste I nevere where.
A[c] as I biheeld into the eest an heigh to the sonne,
I seigh a tour on a toft trieliche ymaked,
A deep dale bynethe, a dongeon therinne,
With depe diches and derke and dredfulle of sighte.
A fair feeld ful of folk fond I ther bitwene --
Of alle manere of men, the meene and the riche,
Werchynge and wandrynge as the world asketh.
Somme putten hem to the plough, pleiden ful selde,
In settynge and sowynge swonken ful harde,
And wonnen that thise wastours with glotonye destruyeth.
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Monday, 30 November 2009
It is interesting now to read the remarks with which Pope Paul VI introduced the new rite. Two things strike me. Firstly, his very words seem to not merely express a sympathy with those who would find the new mass a trial but to betray an anguish all of his own in the face of a sacrifice deemed necessary. Secondly, he stresses the passage from Sacrosanctum Concilium requiring that the faithful "should be able to sing together, in Latin, at least the parts of the Ordinary of the Mass, especially the Creed and the Lord's Prayer, the Our Father".
Reading around the subject it is not difficult to get the impression that Pope Paul was somehow steam-rollered on liturgical reform and subsequently fought a rear guard action, as seen, for instance, in his issuing the "Jubilate Deo" booklet of basic Latin chants everyone should know to all the bishops in 1975. A pity so few did anything about it.
Well. Who knows? It may yet come to pass that the liturgy envisioned by the Council Fathers will appear- thanks, in no small part, to Pope Benedict's efforts.
Sunday, 29 November 2009
Saturday, 28 November 2009
At the Dissolution the entire abbey was acquired by a local merchant who gave the church to the townsfolk and used the monastic dwellings for his cloth business. So there you have it: the Reformation was largely about money and making the rich richer.
Friday, 27 November 2009
Thursday, 26 November 2009
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
It is difficult to gauge the extent to which such figures constitute survivals. The quality of the stone, particularly with weathering, sometimes makes 19th century work appear far older. Nevertheless one gains some sort of impression of the original impact of the whole facade.
Monday, 23 November 2009
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Saturday, 21 November 2009
(Click to enlarge) The modern abbey church was raised on the "footprint" of the medieval building which was destroyed following the dissolution. While there last month I respected the request not to take photographs inside but I can say that it is well worth a visit. The story of the monastic community who rebuilt the ancient abbey from the ground up is an inspiring one. Beyond the main church is a modernist Blessed Sacrament chapel which is not in the best taste visually but the Lord is there- so sucks to you Thomas Cromwell!
Friday, 20 November 2009
My interest in Romanesque and Gothic art and architecture is longstanding and it is entirely fortuitous, from my point of view at least, that the Holy Father should be turning his attention to it just after my tours of East Anglia and the West Country.
Thursday, 19 November 2009
I suppose we have different expectations. I have noticed when staying with non-catholic friends and returning from Mass how they will ask such questions as "Was it a nice service?" How to answer? How indeed should one answer when the music was of stomach turning ghastliness, the readings were delivered without understanding, the sermon was ill-prepared, there were children misbehaving and so on? Of course I politely answer "Yes, thank you." There is,however, a part of me that wants to say, "Nice? NICE? It was terrible, dreadful, frightful, awful, ghastly...but the most sublime thing this side of Heaven."
And I couldn't do without it.
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Monday, 16 November 2009
Sunday, 15 November 2009
In the week following my tour the news came of the holy father's response to the Anglican groups. I have to say that I am slightly perplexed at the desire on their part to retain aspects of Anglican heritage. What sort of heritage? I wonder. To see the traces of the Catholic England of the middle ages and then the work of the men who set about its destruction, is a cause for tears at the very least. Did these men love Christ? Really?