Monday, 8 October 2018



The Accession oath: violent, abusive, and vulgar

On December 10, 1678, Lord Chancellor Finch (1st Earl of Nottingham) addressed a circular letter to all the members of the House of Peers adverting to the “Act for the more effectual preserving the King’s Person and Government, by disabling Papists from sitting in either House of Parliament” [30 Charles II stat.2 (1678)] and requesting their attendance at Westminster within the next fortnight. It read:

December 10: 1678
My very good Lord.
The late Act of Parliament which disables papists to sit in Parliament requires every Peer of the Realm to take their oaths of allegiance and supremacy and to subscribe a declaration therein mentioned before he can be capable of being present at any debate or making any proxy in Parliament.
To the end therefore that your Lordship may give due satisfaction to the King and Kingdom by good obedience to the law the House of Peers has thought fit to command your personal attendance upon them within fourteen days after the receipt of this letter. And I am further commanded to let your Lordship know that no excuse for any default herein shall be received unless it be attested at the bar of the Lords’ House upon oath by two witnesses there to be sworn, and so I bid your Lordship heartily farewell and am
My Lord
Your Lordships very humble servant
Finch.
(Copy in the Parliamentary Archives: “receipted this letter the 12th of December”).

The “declaration therein mentioned” reads:

“I, Name, do solemnly and sincerely, in the presence of God, profess, testify, and declare, that I do believe that in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper there is not any Transubstantiation of the Elements of Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, at, or after, the Consecration thereof by any person whatsoever; and that the Invocation or Adoration of the Virgin Mary, or any other Saint, and the Sacrifice of the Mass, as they are now used in the Church of Rome, are Superstitious and Idolatrous.”

In other words, “I am a Protestant”. The same applies today as then. Since the days when there was great jubilation at Rome when news reached of Fr Dominic Barberi having received Newman into Holy Mother Church there does seem to have been a practice in Vatican statements and documents of distinguishing (at least on some occasions, I don’t know about all) between “Protestants” and “Anglicans” (NOT Episcopalians of whichever provenance but precisely “Anglicans”). However, I am wholly unaware of any other Protestant, formally or otherwise, country which so excoriates the Catholic Faith in this way within its constitution and accession procedures.


When King George VI had died his heiress, the High and Mighty Princess – the official description − Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, Duchess of Edinburgh, was now Queen. But she was in Kenya with the Duke, on their way to Australia and New Zealand. They had returned to their residence, Sagana Lodge, from an evening’s entertainment at Treetops Hotel when the news reached them. The Duke took the call.

The preservation and defence of the Church of Scotland was the last thing on the new Queen’s mind. But, constitutionally, it should have been the first. And, whether it be Prince Charles or Prince William who in time succeeds her, unless there are changes to our constitutional law, it will be the preservation and defence of the Church of Scotland that will be required to be the first concern of her successor.

On that historic day, Wednesday, February 6, 1952, from Sandringham House in Norfolk, the late King’s Private Secretary, Sir Alan Frederick “Tommy” Lascelles, had already notified the Rt Hon Frederick James Marquis (later the First Earl Woolton), Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Council, of the King’s death. As Lord President of the Council, the fourth of the Great Offices of State of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Frederick Marquis was responsible for summoning the Accession Council to meet at Saint James’s Palace.

This august body consists of the Privy Councillors, certain members of the House of Lords including the three Lords Spiritual, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishop of London, the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London, and the High Commissioners of the Commonwealth countries of which the monarch is Head of State (known as Realm Commonwealth countries; in 1952 that was all of them, except the Republic of Ireland, but today they number fifteen; we shall refer back to these below).

Normally when the Accession Council meets the Heir to the Throne is in attendance but, as noted above, she was in Kenya. And thus it was that she was not immediately able, after stating her choice as regnal name, as her first act as Sovereign of these lands to swear in presence of the Accession Council, as is constitutionally required of the new monarch, an oath to preserve and defend the Church of Scotland.

Unusually, the Accession Council had to meet a second time so that this requirement could be belatedly fulfilled. However, meeting at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, they did on the day draft the Proclamation of Accession. It was decided that the proclamation would be given at 11 o’clock on the Friday morning, February 8. It would be read out at the gates of Saint James’s Palace and at other places in London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff and York. Its precise terms need not concern us here apart from noting that she was proclaimed “Defender of the Faith”. The Protestant faith, that is.

Later that year, on Tuesday, November 4, at her first State Opening of Parliament, Her Majesty would take an oath regarding the Church of England, amongst other things. And I believe that it is these Oaths, and not any impediment to marrying a Catholic placed upon anyone in the line of succession, with which we should be concerned.

The Oath, or Declaration, Her Majesty had to swear on that day was in a form of words significantly different to that sworn by her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, and her great-grandfather, Edward VII.

HH Asquith introduced a Bill on June 28, 1910 “To alter the form of the Declaration made by the Sovereign on Accession”. The proposed revised form had in fact been urged upon the Prime Minister by Edward VII. It is usually stated that it was intended to make the Oath sworn by the new Sovereign less offensive to the Roman Catholic subjects of England and Wales, of Scotland and of Ireland, as well as their then estimated 12,000,000 co-religionists “spread throughout the length and breadth of the Empire”.

And that, of course, is perfectly true. But what is also true is that Edward himself, and, it has been said,  his mother, Queen Victoria, before him, had been mortified by the words they had had to recite aloud. And Edward wished his own son to be spared that same embarrassment.

So Georges V and VI and Queen Elizabeth II swore in these terms: “I, Name, do solemnly and sincerely in the presence of God profess, testify, and declare that I am a faithful Protestant, and that I will, according to the true intent of the enactments which secure the Protestant succession to the Throne, uphold and maintain the said enactments to the best of my powers according to law.”

Much less offensive to the Catholic lieges than that sworn by Queen Victoria and Edward VII: “I, Name, do solemnly and sincerely, in the presence of God, profess, testify, and declare, that I do believe that in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper there is not any Transubstantiation of the Elements of Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, at, or after, the Consecration thereof by any person whatsoever; and that the Invocation or Adoration of the Virgin Mary, or any other Saint, and the Sacrifice of the Mass, as they are now used in the Church of Rome, are Superstitious and Idolatrous.”

It is, perhaps, worth noting here that King Henry VIII, founder of the Anglican Church, could not have so sworn!

Victoria and Edward had then to go on and swear that that they had made this Declaration in the plain and ordinary sense of the words as they are commonly understood by English Protestants “without any dispensation, or hope of dispensation, from the Pope or any other authority”.

During the debate on Asquith’s modest proposal, which in no way threatened the Protestant succession, Willie Redmond said of this Declaration: “The Catholic grievance in relation to this Declaration never merely was that the language employed against ourselves and our religion was violent, abusive, and vulgar. Our great grievance was that our religion, and our religion alone of all the various beliefs in the world, was singled out by the King at the most solemn moment of his life for vehement and violent repudiation.”

Whether it be Prince Charles or William who succeeds Queen Elizabeth, we, Her Majesty’s Roman Catholic subjects, would be less offended by the altered terms of the oath as sworn by Queen Elizabeth, her father and grandfather as compared to that sworn by Edward VII and Victoria. Nonetheless we should be sensible to the fact that the terms of that previous oath are implicit in the newer one. In 1689 a scholarly Anglican clergyman wrote: “…in Matrimonial Contracts, though the Clause of Divorce in Case of Adultery, be not expressed, AS IT IS USUAL TO EXCLUDE CLAUSES THAT ARE ODIOUS (my emphasis); yet cannot we infer from thence, that that condition is not as expressly to be understood, as if it had been expressed in plain words and at large."

Put simply, our religion, and our religion alone, will still be singled out for vehement and violent abuse, albeit implicitly, at the most solemn moment of our next King’s life UNLESS the various acts relating to the Declaration of Accession are repealed.
And this can be done without reference to the 15 Realm Countries of the Commonwealth as they have nothing to do with the Act of Succession. Indeed, this oath was never originally intended to be sworn by the Sovereign at all. It was drafted in 1678 during the reign of Charles II when, according to Asquith as he introduced his Bill, “Parliament and the great mass of the population of this country (England!) were in a state, it may almost be said, of panic, in consequence of the revelations, or supposed revelations, of the existence and the ramifications of the Popish Plot.”

Which plot never in fact existed. So now time, surely, to undo the dastardly evils wrought by Titus Oates and by Danby and Shaftesbury. Then time enough to contemplate the Act of Succession and the implications for the Establishment of the Church of England of allowing heirs in line of succession to marry a Catholic. Or for the Sovereign to be a Catholic.

Uncomfortably for us, since we will brook no interference in the election of our Supreme Pontiff, can we really demand that the head of the Church of England should be able to be a Catholic? Or will we insist that our Church must allow the Catholic partner in a mixed marriage to not strive to have issue of the marriage brought up as Catholics? But only in the case of English royalty?

Friday, 26 August 2016

In defence of Scotland's Catholic schools

The Scottish Catholic education system is again under attack. This is something I drafted a while back.
Civil Rights and the Education (Scotland) Act 1918

The Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia, volume 3, para. 1660, citing the Perverts to Papacy Act 1609 (RPS, 1609/4/16) and the Mass Act 1661, (RPS, 1661/1/56).

“Likewise his majesty, considering how dangerous it is that children are educated by persons popishly affected, do therefore, conforming to former acts of parliament, appoint that children under popish parents, tutors or curators shall be taken from them and committed to the education of some well-affected and religious friend, at the sight and by order of his majesty’s privy council”

It has been suggested that since the European Convention on Human Rights has now become a part of Scottish Law, then the European Court of Human Rights might be used as a forum within which to challenge the way in which Catholic education is provided in Scotland. So it might be thought sensible to ask which provisions of the Human Rights Convention could be used to mount a successful challenge to the very existence of Catholic schools in Scotland under the Education (Scotland) Act 1918 disposition. Happily, the answer is none.

Those parts of the Convention that might arguably be used by opponents of Catholic education are given below, but it should be readily obvious that they provide a much stronger basis for a defence of our Catholic schools. It should also be noted that the various parts are listed in order, but in accordance with the principle that last shall be first the very last part of the Convention quoted is the most important in the context of defending the provision of Catholic education.

European Convention on Human Rights

Section 1

Article 8:
(1) Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

(2) There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Article 9:
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

(2) Freedom to manifest one’s religion or belief shall be subject only to the limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Article 12:
Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to form a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right.

Article 13:
Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.

Article 14:
The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any grounds such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, birth or other status.

Article 15:
In time of war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation any High Contracting Party may take measures derogating from its obligations under this Convention to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with its other obligations under international law.

The Substantive Protocols to the Convention

1. Protocol No.1, 20 March 1952
Article (1):
Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.
The preceding provision shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.

Article (2):

No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.

Attacks on Catholic Schools

It was reported some time ago that Cameron Fyfe of Ross Harper & Murphy (note: happily, they ceased trading in April 2012; HMcL) intended to proceed with an action at the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of at least one family based on the second article of the First Protocol. In the various reports on the matter reference was made only to the first sentence thereof: “No person shall be denied the right to education.”

Sadly, it was clear at the time of the initial reports that the only persons denying the child concerned a proper education were his own parents (note: as far as I am aware, nothing more was subsequently heard about this case; HMcL). However, my concern here is the education of Catholic children and of those children of non-Catholic parents wishing to avail themselves of the benefits of a Catholic education for their offspring.

In pursuance of its obligations to Catholic parents under this Article, the most efficient way that the Scottish Executive can ensure that it continues in conformity with its duty is for it to ensure that it continues to provide separate Catholic schools under the terms of the 1918 Education (Scotland) Act. Under the terms of the Act the Scottish Catholic Church ceded school property to the State in perpetuity on the understanding that the State would in perpetuity provide separate Catholic schooling for the Catholic children of Scotland.

It must be remembered that the State could have taken over the running of the Catholic schools without the agreement of the Church in 1918 as the country was at war and in great peril. Indeed, Section 1 Articles 8 and 13 cited above would permit them to do so even today.

The Education (Scotland) Act 1918

How and why came it to be that we have our Catholic schools here in Scotland? Contrary to what some might believe, it is clear that it had nothing to do with any desire on the part of the British State to preserve the Catholic Faith. And Catholics were little involved on the floor of the House at Westminster during the debates which led eventually to the passing of the Education (Scotland) Act 1918. Indeed, no Scottish Catholic Member of Parliament was involved (as there wasn't one) and just one Catholic Irish Nationalist MP contributed to the Parliamentary proceedings.

On August 9, 1916, as the Great War in Europe raged on, during the 13th day of the Debate on the Supply in the House of Commons, Mr James Myles Hogge first raised the possibility of a wide-ranging review of the Scottish Education system. A non-Coalition Liberal, the Member for East Edinburgh was an Assistant Minister of the United Free Church in College Street, Edinburgh.

Also by profession a journalist and both a social investigator and researcher, Mr Hogge asserted in his opening remarks that “the time has arrived, and is in fact overdue, when another Royal Commission ought to make an investigation into the whole system of Scottish education.”

He went on to aver that “after the War we shall be face to face with a situation which will require a different kind of education from that which has been given before, and I am sure my Rt hon Friend (the Secretary for Scotland) would be doing a service to British education if he did something in this direction.”

Later during that day’s debate, the then Secretary for Scotland, the Rt hon Harold John Tennant (Coalition Liberal, Berwickshire) told the House that Her Majesty’s Government recognised that “these questions of education are of paramount importance”. They intended, therefore, to set up an inquiry but it was to be one into education throughout the whole of the United Kingdom and not just within Scotland.

This latter point was to become a major bone of contention in the succeeding weeks and months with, amongst others, Mr Alexander MacCallum Scott (Liberal, Glasgow Bridgeton; an Advocate educated at Polmont Public School, Falkirk High School and Glasgow University) taking the matter up at Questions with Mr Tennant, August 16 and with Mr HH Asquith, the Prime Minister, August 21.

When questioning the latter, MacCallum Scott highlighted what few today seem to realise, that the need for a new system of education was something which was in the best strategic interests of the country and not necessarily the best interests of the Catholic Church. (Indeed, nowhere in the Education (Scotland) Act 1918 is the Church mentioned.) He asked Asquith to “take steps to secure that a comprehensive inquiry into the existing educational provision in Scotland from primary schools to the universities, with special reference to the experience gained during the War, should be conducted by people versed in the Scottish education system.”

After Asquith had assured MacCallum Scott that he was indeed aware of the differences between the education system in Scotland and that in England he added that he was, however, also aware that there were “many educational problems common to the two countries” and had therefore concluded that they should be examined together.

Sir Henry Craik (Conservative, Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities) then became involved. He asked the PM to bear in mind that inquiries were “often most efficacious” if they were left up to the discretion of those conducting them to decide how precisely they were to go about their task. Sir Henry was a son of a former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Very Rev James Craik DD. He had been educated at the High School of Glasgow, Glasgow University and Balliol College, Oxford. He was a former Examiner (from 1870), Senior Examiner (from 1878) and Secretary (1885-1904) of the Scottish Education Department and was to be closely involved in the long and careful discussions and inquiries which would eventually lead to the passing of the 1918 Act. Indeed, in that year of its passing Sir Henry would be appointed a Privy Counsellor.

A year later, on August 8, 1917, the Rt hon Robert Munro (Scottish Liberal, Wick Burghs), who had by then taken over as Secretary for Scotland, told the House that one of the “many lessons that the War has taught us is, I think, the vital importance of education to the nation.” Moreover, of “vital importance” to the quality of that education was the quality of the teacher. He went on: “You want to attract into the teaching profession the very best men whom you can get, and you cannot do that unless you offer them more than a miserable pittance for their services. Even if you get suitable men, you cannot get the best out of them unless they are properly paid. For no man can give of his best who is a constant prey to financial anxiety, and accordingly the educational work of the teacher, I take it, will be in inverse ratio to the domestic worry which he experiences.”

Nowhere were those financial anxieties and the consequent domestic worries greater than in the case of the teachers of Scotland’s voluntary, almost exclusively Catholic, schools sector.

It was only after Mssrs Munro, Tennant, Watson, Galland, Morton and Holmes, Colonel Stirling and Sirs H Craik and Edward Parrott had contributed to the debate that John Pius Boland (Irish Parliamentary Party, South Kerry) rose to speak. He conceded that it was “almost presumptuous” for an Irish Member to intervene, but pointed out that it was well known that he had “always taken a deep interest in voluntary schools in Scotland” particularly since the passing of the 1908 Scottish Education Bill, when he had sat on the Grand Committee during its various stages.

Boland expressed “a wee bit of disappointment” that the Secretary for Scotland had not given “rather more hope” in regards to the way the voluntary schools in Scotland were to be assisted in the matter of the payment of their teachers. Figures which had recently been “extracted” from the Secretary showed that these teachers were “monstrously underpaid”.

Some of the figures made available enabled a comparison to be readily made.

                                Glasgow Catholic school      Glasgow Board school
                                             £                                    £
Headmaster                        181                                366
Male assistant          N/A but Scottish ave 94          154. 12s
Female assistant       N/A but Scottish ave 75          106

£4.4s.8d was spent on each child in a Govan Board school and £3.16s in a Glasgow one. In the case of a Catholic child in his voluntary school only £1.14s.5d was spent, NOT ONE PENNY of which came out of the Rates which nonetheless their parents had still to pay in full.

Mr Boland observed that the result for the education of Catholic children was “disastrous”. He pointed out that the Catholic Church in Scotland had to raise some £60,000 per annum “not merely to supplement the wretched salaries of the teachers, but to provide for the building and equipment of the schools”. And these Catholic voluntary schools were grossly overcrowded. Whereas 32 Govan Board Schools catered to 1,022 scholars, 20 Glasgow Catholic schools had to cater for 1,423.

Moreover, there were also nutritional differences affecting the development of Catholic children. When, in 1914, Dr Ernest Roberts, Chief Medical Officer of Health for the Glasgow School Board had issued his Annual Report for the year ended 13 June of that year it was revealed that girls aged 11 and 12 in Catholic schools weighed on average 5 lbs less than Protestant girls in the Board schools. Girls aged 9 in Catholic schools had an average height of 3ft 10ins, their Protestant equivalent 4ft 0ins.

Later, in his summing up in that portion of the debate, Mr Munro first publicly held out to the Catholic Church the prospect of their schools coming under the umbrella of local authority control in what he hoped they might like to consider as favourable terms. This was to be done because it was in the country’s strategic interests AND NOT out of any ecumenical sentiment.


Friday, 15 April 2016

England's Next Cardinal: Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher

The infallibility which comes with papal election does not bring with it absolution for past faults and failings, a guarantee that those will have no bearing on the future, and a certainty that that future will in all other respects be additional mistakes-free.

If it did, His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, in all likelihood England’s next cardinal — and first non-residential one since Francis Aidan Cardinal Gasquet OSB, the last cardinal created by Pope St Pius X, in 1914 — priest of the Archdiocese of Liverpool but a Scottish bishop (? See below), would not have been appointed, in November 2014, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States (usually described as the Pope’s Foreign Secretary) the third highest ranking prelate of the Secretariat of State behind the Cardinal Secretary of State, His Eminence Pietro Parolin, and the sostituto, the Secretary of State Substitute for General Affairs, His Excellency Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu.

For months prior to Mgr Gallagher’s advancement, there had been speculation that Pope Francis intended to remove His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, an old Roman student days’ friend of Glasgow’s Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, from his post as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the ultimate court of appeal in the Catholic world. Cardinal Burke’s great sin? His face didn’t fit. It did not matter to Pope Francis that here was one of the finest legal minds ever to have graced his high office, a prelate who over the next few years — His Eminence will be 68 on June 30 and so could have served for another 7 years at least — might have made a substantial contribution to the massive legislative work that will be required to implement any fruits of the labours of the Council of Nine Cardinals.

No, he had to go. That autocratic tendency which Pope Francis had noted in his younger self as Jesuit superior in Argentina and which he had lamented during his interview with Fr Antonio Spadaro SJ in La Civiltà Cattolica (A Big Heart Open to God, September 30, 2013) is alive and well. I have no desire to labour this point but if further proof be needed that it rages still within the papal bosom then see:

the appointment of Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki as Archbishop of Cologne over the heads of the Cathedral Chapter and in clear breach of the law, and;

the appointment of Blase Joseph Cupich as Archbishop of Chicago without taking advice of anyone with a legitimate say in the matter.

Then see also his refusal of the red hats that are the traditional due to:
Francesco Moraglia, Patriarch of Venice;

Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin and, and most scandalously;

Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès OP, Prefect of the Secret Archives and Librarian of the Holy See. Most scandalously? Going back to 1700, only 4 prelates appointed to head the Secret Archives were not yet Cardinals. All were created Cardinal at the next consistory (and these all in recent years).

To the surprise of many, when Pope Francis finally decided to remove Cardinal Burke he appointed the “Foreign Secretary” he had inherited from Pope Benedict, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, to replace him. Really it should have been no surprise. Of Archbishop Mamberti’s 23 predecessors going back to 1878 and the beginning of the Pontificate of Pope Leo XIII (and the restoration of the Scottish Catholic episcopal hierarchy; which point I always take as the beginning of “the Church in the Modern World”) roughly one-third, 7 in all, have been former diplomats, including Achille Cardinal Silvestrini who was also promoted from being Secretary for Relations with States. But it was a surprise, a genuine surprise, when at the same time it was announced that Archbishop Gallagher was to replace Archbishop Mamberti.

It is hard to offer a typical example of what Archbishop Gallagher’s usual daily routine is in the Secretariat of State but take as an example a week following the end his first six months in office. The English language bollettino, the press release issued each day by the Vatican Press Office at noon (11 am here), recorded the following: “The Pope received in audience… (Thursday) the Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Stephen Harper… (Friday, June 12, 2015) the President of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Poland, Ms. Ewa Kopacz” who both “subsequently met with Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.” And when on the Thursday President Putin came to call on Pope Francis, at the same time “a meeting was held between Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher… and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov during which the topics of the conflict in the Ukraine and the worrying situation in the Middle East were also discussed.”

Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, Archbishop Gallagher had addressed a seminar, “Building inclusive societies together: contributions to Sarajevo’s exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue”, organised by the Council of Europe. He spoke on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue. If I may be excused for putting it this way, Archbishop Gallagher is now very much playing with the big boys. And we, and not just our co-religionists south of the border, should be proud of him.

                           


When Mgr Gallagher received episcopal consecration on Saturday, March 13, 2004 at the hands of the then Cardinal Secretary of State, Angelo Sodano, he was not to be the ordinary of a diocese but Apostolic Nuncio in Burundi, in succession to the martyred Irish prelate, Archbishop Michael Aidan Courtney (Saint Andrew and Edinburgh’s Archbishop Leo Cushley was Second Secretary during Archbishop Courtney’s first year resident in Bujumbura). Thus Archbishop Gallagher was provided, as the quaint expression has it, as titular to Hodelm, more commonly known as Hoddom.

And so he became the second English prelate in recent years who, should he experience a sudden yen to visit his titular See, wouldn’t have had far to travel. When Bishop John Arnold was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster in December of 2005 he was provided to the titular see of Lindisfarne. He was a lucky man as few titular bishops can accurately locate their Sees on a map, never mind visit, celebrate Mass and chat to the locals in his and their own native language. Just ask Archbishop Cushley’s former Auxiliary, Bishop Stephen Robson, now Bishop of Dunkeld. When he was appointed Auxiliary, I doubt if he had ever heard of Tunnuna (proconsular Africa as was, modern-day Tunisia and the adjacent Mediterranean Coast of Western Libya, if you must know).

Lindisfarne is just on the English side of the border, Hoddom on ours; in Dumfriesshire.

Driving north on the M6, when you hit the Scottish border at Gretna Green the road becomes the A74(M). About five miles north of Gretna, you will see a sign saying Kirtlebridge and you are now in what was once the Bishopric of Hoddom. The territory of the old diocese stretches out a few miles to either side of the road as it runs northwards from Kirtlebridge to just north of Lockerbie. Indeed, about three or four miles on from Kirtlebridge you come to Ecclefechan and here you will see a sign for Hoddom Castle and Caravan Park. In the late 6th century, St Mungo, founder of Glasgow and its patron saint, founded a monastery on or about the land now occupied by Hoddom Castle, but long before the original castle was built post-Norman Conquest by the Carlyle family. That monastery was the seat of the first bishops of Hoddom.

And Hoddom is not unimportant for other than its ecclesiastical association with St Mungo. Thomas Carlyle, the great Scottish philosopher, mathematician, writer and satirist was born within the See, at the aforementioned Ecclefechan (December 4, 1795), and was buried there after his death in London (February 5, 1881) despite Westminster Abbey having been offered (it was his wish to be buried beside his parents). William Paterson (1658-1719), founder of the Bank of England, was also born here in the hamlet of Tinwald near Lochmaber, four miles west of Lockerbie. And many believe that it was at Lochmaber Robert the Bruce was born.

So if we cannot quite claim Archbishop Gallagher as entirely our own, we can certainly claim a measure of him. Perhaps now that he is well settled into his new position, the Scottish Catholic Bishops’ Conference might care to offer this newly illustrious servant of the Servant of the servants of God honorary membership.

Archbishop Gallagher a future cardinal?

I will only go back as far as what I have mentioned above I take to be the beginning of the Church in the Modern World, the beginning of the pontificate of Pope Leo XIII. The department over which Mgr Gallagher now presides was formerly the Sacred Congregation for the Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs of the Holy See until, in August 1967 consequent upon changes in the Roman Curia made by Blessed Pope Paul VI in response to the will of the Council Fathers and informed by his many years of service in the curia, it became the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church (Archbishop Agostino, later Cardinal Secretary of State, Casaroli was Secretary at that time). Pope St John Paul II made further changes to the Roman Curia as laid down in Pastor Bonus, now under cardinalatial review, and this department took its present form and name on the first day of March, 1989 (Archbishop Angelo, later Cardinal Secretary of State, Sodano was Secretary at that time)

From the beginning of Pope Leo XIII’s pontificate, there were seventeen (17) Secretaries of the Sacred Congregation for the Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs of the Holy See: every one of them was subsequently created cardinal. It should also be noted that only one of them was a non-Italian, the first one, in place upon his election, the Pole Wlodzimierz Cardinal Czacki (an Earl and relative of Pope St John Paul II’s mentor, the Prince Bishop Cardinal Adam Sapieha). Of the three (3) (excluding Cardinal Casaroli) Secretaries of the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church, all were subsequently created cardinal and all were Italian. Finally, of the three Secretaries for Relations with States (excluding Cardinal Sodano) who have preceded Mgr Gallagher, all have been created cardinal. It should be noted that two of the these three were non-Italian, both being French: Cardinal Mamberti, as noted above, and Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran.

How long will it be before Mgr Gallagher has to revisit fratelli Gammarelli?

The first twelve (12) Secretaries of the Sacred Congregation for Extraordinary the Ecclesiastical Affairs of the Holy See, within our time span, served for between two to five years. This takes us from Wlodzimierz Cardinal Czacki (March 1877– August 1879) to Bonaventura Cardinal Cerretti (May 1917 – May 1921). Thereafter, the Secretaries tended to serve for longer, successively 7, 8, 15 (this last would have been 10 but Mgr Tardini declined a cardinal’s hat in 1953 to continue in post) and then 14. Of his nearest predecessors, Cardinal Sodano served for 3 years, Cardinal Tauran 13, Lajolo 3 and Mamberti 8.


Although it is impossible to make any predictions as to the length of this pontificate — apart from the the Grim Reaper, who could anticipate Pope Francis? — which might affect Mgr Gallagher's service, since a new Pope might get out his new broom, it would seem reasonable to expect that Mgr Gallagher will be created cardinal after having served about ten years as Secretary for Relations with States, maybe a bit less maybe a bit more. This would mean round about when he turns 70 in 2024.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

The Pontifical Oriental Institute: A First First Centenary Reflection

It was not until the mid-1990s (my mid-40s) when, encouraged by my old PP, Cardinal Winning, I started looking into the life of our convert Scottish cardinal, the nowadays virtually unheard of William Theodore Cardinal Heard, and read of his various appointments upon his elevation to the Sacred College of Cardinals in December 1959, that I first read of “the Oriental Churches in communion with Rome”, of “the Congregation for the Oriental Churches”, of the “Oriental Canon Law” and of the “Pontifical Oriental Institute” (POI).

And then one Sunday morning the late Fr Clarence Gallagher SJ (pictured below with Pope St John Paul II, for whom he was a trusted advisor) home from whatever his work was in Rome, said the 10 o’clock Sunday morning Mass at which I was reading. Now although I had not met Fr Clarence since moving to Holy Family, Mossend, my mother’s home parish, I had known about him from my childhood: but not from her. In his childhood, Fr Clarence and his brothers, John and Gerald, and his sister, Mary, used to be taken of a Saturday morning by their aunt to visit my granny McLoughlin (née Creaney, which is the connection) in Motherwell.

So after Mass I took the opportunity to ask him if he could properly translate for me something I had read, but I did not tell him it was about Cardinal Heard. His Eminence had been described by Good Pope John as “l’ottima giurista della sancta Chiesa” (I apologise if my Italian is incorrect; this is from memory as I cannot now find my contemporaneous notes). “Oh,” said Fr Clarence immediately “you’ve been reading about Cardinal Heard.”

Now, on that Sunday morning, I learned what Fr Clarence was actually doing in Rome: he was the Rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute!

When Fr Clarence died on May 5, 2013, I noted in his obituary (in The [Glasgow] Herald) that in 1975 he was widely regarded as the favourite to succeed Gordon Joseph Cardinal Gray as Archbishop and Metropolitan of St Andrews and Edinburgh. No sooner had Fr Keith Patrick O’Brien been surprisingly appointed to succeed Cardinal Gray than Fr Pater Hans Kolvenbach, Father General of the Jesuits, called Fr Clarence back to Rome from Garnethill, Glasgow, where he was (unusually) both Rector of St Aloysius College and PP of St Aloysius parish, and appointed him, firstly, lecturer, then professor and finally Dean of the Faculty of Oriental Canon Law at the POI. It was Pope St John Paul II who, in 1990, appointed him Rector.

It is, perhaps, worth recording here that when Fr Kolvenbach was belatedly elected Fr General of the Jesuits in 1983, after the interregnum when Pope St John Paul II had, in a very unsaintly manner, imposed Fr Paolo, later Cardinal, Dezza as his “special Papal Delegate for the Society of Jesus”, one of his first tasks was to mend fences with the Vatican in general and the papal household in particular and to restore papal confidence in the Society. Fr Clarence was to come to contribute greatly to this process. Soon after his appointment as Rector, he became a close, personal and highly valued papal adviser on matters concerning the Oriental Churches, both Catholic and Orthodox. Indeed, so much was he personally regarded by Pope St John Paul II that he was always greeted by him with a papal hug, a beaming smile and a hearty “rettore magnifico”.

                                         

You will hardly be surprised to learn that, on that Sunday morning, in ten minutes or so I learned more about the Oriental Churches than I had learned in weeks ensconced in the Mitchell Library (and that is by no means meant to be a criticism of that fine institution). In subsequent conversations, I learned a lot more; and, it is an interest I have maintained. Fr Clarence further deepened my understanding when on the occasion of my 50th birthday in April 2002 he presented me with a signed copy of his then newly published book, “Church Law and Church Discipline in Rome and Byzantium: A Comparative Study”.

If you are quick at mental arithmetic, you will have immediately realised that next year I will be 65. Fr Clarence’s beloved Pontifical Oriental Institute will celebrate an even more important anniversary: it will be 100. It is my earnest hope that I may be able to visit Rome in 2017 to celebrate both landmarks. The POI’s website notes:

“Pope Benedict XV founded the Institute in 1917 to be a centre dedicated to advanced studies on Eastern Christianity. The mission of the Oriental Institute is to study, explain, and make better known the life and tradition of these churches.

“Christianity was born in the Holy Land. From the first centuries of Christianity on, the churches developed in distinctive Eastern and Western forms. In the Eastern half of the Roman Empire and beyond its Eastern borders, there appeared successively: 1) the Assyrian Church of the East; 2) the Oriental Orthodox (Pre-Chalcedonian) Churches; 3) the Eastern (Byzantine) Orthodox Churches, and finally; 4) the Eastern Catholic Churches. All these churches grew — and are still present in — the Near East, Eastern Europe, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea and southern India. From those historic homelands, Eastern churches have spread throughout the world. The Pontifical Oriental Institute studies all these churches.”

Twenty-three of these Churches are now wholly reconciled with Rome. Leaving aside ethnic, social, geographic, cultural and political differences, the most important differences in how these Churches, and their orthodox counterparts, developed are related to liturgy and discipline. Doctrinal differences are, of course, important but they were relatively minor as far as the now Eastern Rite Catholic Churches were concerned and still, largely, are as far as the Orthodox Churches are presently concerned.

Bearing in mind that the Catholic Church in Scotland is a mere infant compared to the now so murderously persecuted Eastern Rite Catholic Churches, as also their sister Orthodox churches, in the Near and Middle East, and most especially in Syria where the name “Christian” was first used hundreds of years before St Patrick ever came to Ireland, it seems to me that Fr Clarence was both right and prophetic when he closed his book by concluding in his very last sentence: “However, as we look forward to the third millennium and ask how Christians can come back into full communion with each other, it cannot but be helpful to look carefully at how Christians lived and how authority was in fact exercised in the first (his emphasis) thousand years of the Church’s history and see just how far it was possible to have diversity in unity.”

Take celibacy. Of those 23 Eastern Rite Churches in full communion with Rome, most admit married men to ordination as priests — the exceptions are the Syro-Malankara and Syro-Malabar Catholic Churches of India and the Coptic Catholic Church — but not if they are monks or members of religious orders (Jesuits, Franciscans etc). However, once ordained a priest cannot later marry. Bishops are chosen only from the celibate clergy and are therefore usually selected from the ranks of the monks. But not always. The recently mentioned Josyf Cardinal Slipyj, Major Archbishop of Lviv (Ukrainian) was a celibate secular priest. (Coincidentally, April 17, my birthday, will mark the 25th anniversary of His Eminence being posthumously rehabilitated by the Ukrainian government.)

Celibacy is not now and never has been a matter of doctrine. Some might like it to be but it isn’t. It is a question of discipline. Ah, but what about the Council of Elvira of the first decade of the fourth century (possibly 302AD)? Surely that ruled out for the future any question of a married priesthood? Well, no actually. This was not a Council of the same status, as, say, the First Council of Nicaea 325AD. It was more like the Synod of the Patriarchate of Venice convened in 1958 by Angelo Giuseppe Cardinal Roncalli; or, the one he later convened as Bishop of Rome; or, like the eagerly awaited Synod of the Diocese of Paisley convened by Bishop John Keenan. In fact you will see Elvira referred to both Council and Synod.

To put matters into perspective, to Nicaea were invited all the bishops of the Christian world. However, the actual number of bishops attending is unclear: Eusebius of Caesarea estimated 250; Athanasius of Alexandria, 318, and; Eustathius of Antioch estimated “about 270”. We know of a certainty that three bishops attended from Britain. The bishops had permission to bring two priests and three deacons with them and it is estimated that in total about 1,000 came from the East and about 800 from the West. Eusebius speaks of an almost innumerable host of accompanying priests, deacons and acolytes. The Emperor Constantine was paying their way!

Elvira? 19 bishops, 26 priests, some deacons and a handful of laymen attended, all hailing from what is modern day Andalucía. The canons promulgated, and those added at later dates, and no one is absolutely sure which are which, concern order, discipline and conduct among the Christian community of that specific area and never had any influence, for they were never heard of at that time, elsewhere. Indeed, in the event they had little influence at home.

Insignificant though this council/synod was and remains, it does provide evidence that for the first three centuries of the Church not only were there married priests and deacons, there were also married bishops! Canon 33, which it must be emphasised had no status, no effect outside the Province concerned, reads: “Bishops, presbyters, deacons, and others with a position in the ministry are to abstain completely from sexual intercourse with their wives and from the procreation of children. If anyone disobeys, he shall be removed from the clerical office.”


In other words, sexual continence was sought to be enforced not celibacy. Even for bishops! 

Monday, 11 April 2016

AMORIS LÆTITIA: Reading it and my early-onset confusion

If God intended first to abandon us, says St Augustine, why did He send His Only-begotten Son down on earth to redeem all men, and show them the way to Heaven? Why should that son allow himself to be so cruelly tortured, and to be nailed to the cross for our sake?” Fr Franz Hunolt SJ (Hunolt’s Sermons Vol I, The Penitent Christian, Tenth Sermon, Benziger Bros, 1889) 

I did not get far into my reading of the Apostolic Exhortation, “Amoris Lætitia on Love in the Family”, before I had to stop and seriously consider what was being said and what it actually meant. In fact this was at just the third paragraph, which reads:

“Since ‘time is greater than space’, I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium. Unity of teaching and practice is certainly necessary in the Church, but this does not preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it.” (Amoris Lætitia, para 3)

I found this more than somewhat perplexing on two counts. First of all, no source is given for the dictum ‘time is greater than space’ and so I can only but presume that it is taken from Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World” (November 24, 2013), where this dictum is posited as one of “four principles related to constant tensions present in every social reality” (paragraphs 221/2)

221. Progress in building a people in peace, justice and fraternity depends on four principles related to constant tensions present in every social reality. These derive from the pillars of the Church’s social doctrine, which serve as “primary and fundamental parameters of reference for interpreting and evaluating social phenomena”.[181]

The footnote adverted to here “[181]” directs us to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Chapter 4, Meaning and Unity, specifically para 161 which, however, is meaningless without its context, the preceding paragraph. These two read (footnotes omitted, except the Gospel ones and Guardini):

160. The permanent principles of the Church’s social doctrine constitute the very heart of Catholic social teaching. These are the principles of: the dignity of the human person, which has already been dealt with in the preceding chapter, and which is the foundation of all the other principles and content of the Church’s social doctrine; the common good; subsidiarity; and solidarity. These principles, the expression of the whole truth about man known by reason and faith, are born of “the encounter of the Gospel message and of its demands summarized in the supreme commandment of love of God and neighbour in justice with the problems emanating from the life of society”. In the course of history and with the light of the Spirit, the Church has wisely reflected within her own tradition of faith and has been able to provide an ever more accurate foundation and shape to these principles, progressively explaining them in the attempt to respond coherently to the demands of the times and to the continuous developments of social life.

161. These are principles of a general and fundamental character, since they concern the reality of society in its entirety: from close and immediate relationships to those mediated by politics, economics and law; from relationships among communities and groups to relations between peoples and nations. Because of their permanence in time and their universality of meaning, the Church presents them as the primary and fundamental parameters of reference for interpreting and evaluating social phenomena, which is the necessary source for working

Pope Francis then continues in Evangelii Gaudium:

221. … In their light I would now like to set forth these four specific principles which can guide the development of life in society and the building of a people where differences are harmonized within a shared pursuit. I do so out of the conviction that their application can be a genuine path to peace within each nation and in the entire world.

Time is greater than space

222. A constant tension exists between fullness and limitation. Fullness evokes the desire for complete possession, while limitation is a wall set before us. Broadly speaking, “time” has to do with fullness as an expression of the horizon which constantly opens before us, while each individual moment has to do with limitation as an expression of enclosure. People live poised between each individual moment and the greater, brighter horizon of the utopian future as the final cause which draws us to itself. Here we see a first principle for progress in building a people: time is greater than space.

223. This principle enables us to work slowly but surely, without being obsessed with immediate results. It helps us patiently to endure difficult and adverse situations, or inevitable changes in our plans. It invites us to accept the tension between fullness and limitation, and to give a priority to time. One of the faults which we occasionally observe in socio-political activity is that spaces and power are preferred to time and processes. Giving priority to space means madly attempting to keep everything together in the present, trying to possess all the spaces of power and of self-assertion; it is to crystallize processes and presume to hold them back. Giving priority to time means being concerned about initiating processes rather than possessing spaces. Time governs spaces, illumines them and makes them links in a constantly expanding chain, with no possibility of return. What we need, then, is to give priority to actions which generate new processes in society and engage other persons and groups who can develop them to the point where they bear fruit in significant historical events. Without anxiety, but with clear convictions and tenacity.

224. Sometimes I wonder if there are people in today’s world who are really concerned about generating processes of people-building, as opposed to obtaining immediate results which yield easy, quick short-term political gains, but do not enhance human fullness. History will perhaps judge the latter with the criterion set forth by Romano Guardini: “The only measure for properly evaluating an age is to ask to what extent it fosters the development and attainment of a full and authentically meaningful human existence, in accordance with the peculiar character and the capacities of that age” (Das Ende der Neuzeit, Würzburg, 1965, 30-31).

225. This criterion also applies to evangelization, which calls for attention to the bigger picture, openness to suitable processes and concern for the long run. The Lord himself, during his earthly life, often warned his disciples that there were things they could not yet understand and that they would have to await the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 16:12-13). The parable of the weeds among the wheat (cf. Mt 13:24-30) graphically illustrates an important aspect of evangelization: the enemy can intrude upon the kingdom and sow harm, but ultimately he is defeated by the goodness of the wheat.

I am drawn to the conclusion that Pope Francis has concluded that as he has found what he believes to be — and seems to me to be (but I am no expert) — a perfectly functional way, which is entirely consonant — at least it seems to me to be (but I am no expert) — with the magisterium, to analyse society at large and its socio-politic problems so, too, can he use this method to analyse local church, metropolitan, diocesan, parish and family life and their ethical and moral problems.

Indeed, going back to re-read the third paragraph in light of all this, I now see that my conclusion must be right for I had forgotten that I initially had been perplexed by two things. Of course, the second was that Pope Francis had begun this paragraph by positing an axiom: “Since ‘time is greater than space’…”   

As I go on to read further, I shall have to keep in mind from Evangelii Gaudium Pope Francis’s other three “specific principles which can guide the development of life in society and the building of a people where differences are harmonized within a shared pursuit”, which are:

(1) “Unity prevails over conflict”: Pope Francis avers that “the best way to deal with conflict… is the willingness to face conflict head on, to resolve it and to make it a link in the chain of a new process. “Blessed are the peacemakers!” (Mt 5:9).” (EG 227)

 (2) “Realities are more important than ideas”: “This calls for rejecting the various means of masking reality: angelic forms of purity, dictatorships of relativism, empty rhetoric, objectives more ideal than real, brands of ahistorical fundamentalism, ethical systems bereft of kindness, intellectual discourse bereft of wisdom.” (EG 231)

 (3) “The whole is greater than the part”: “The good news is the joy of the Father who desires that none of his little ones be lost, the joy of the Good Shepherd who finds the lost sheep and brings it back to the flock. The Gospel is the leaven which causes the dough to rise and the city on the hill whose light illumines all peoples. The Gospel has an intrinsic principle of totality: it will always remain good news until it has been proclaimed to all people, until it has healed and strengthened every aspect of humanity, until it has brought all men and women together at table in God’s kingdom.” (EG 237)


It will be interesting to see how these four principles come into play as I read on, especially this last. But, my, it's going to be a long haul if this is how hard the first wee bit has been!