Verger does cartwheels down aisle after royal wedding


  1. Under Edwin, the first abbot of St. Peter’s Abbey (now Westminster abbey), an adaptation to the Rule of St. Benedict was made. The ancient abbey rule is still to be seen the undercroft with the adaptation to English monastic life titled “super rota”. An adaptation of this ancient usage, to encourage wakefulness during the winter quire, is here visible, and must have survived the dissolution of the monastery in in 1540. Most telling, this usage was not reinstated during the abbatial rule of Feckenham in the brief return of monks between 1556 and 1558.

  2. Funny clip – I imagine a royal wedding would be very stressful.

    I liked the bits of the wedding I saw on TV. I thought it showed the beauty and continued relevance that traditional rituals and expressions of worship can have.

  3. Isn’t this where you would post about how the Archbishop of Canterbury had a new custom cope made for the ceremony modeled on a much older style cope to the cost of ? thousands of dollars…

    1. No, Christopher Costigan, it’s where you did!

      (The Archbishop of Canterbury can spend what he likes on vestments – it’s fat self-aggrandising opinionated clergy who blog and comment telling the rest of the world how to run their lives, when they clearly don’t have their own “house in order” that I have a problem with.)

      So, you were, not unusually, wrong.

    2. Have you gone to take a look at Lumen Gentium yet to see just where the words of what you called the “anti-modernist oath” came from?

    3. Fr. Costigan – Critiques of excessive, expensive splendor are best made of ones own tradition. Since you and I are Roman Catholic priests, it would be a bit tacky for us to criticize others – not least because of our own tradition’s practices. Speck and beam and all that.

      But I sense the issue here is, Why the “unfair” critique of the Pope and RC bishops, but not Anglican hierarchs? I’m pretty sure the social context explains it.

      RC clerics are vulnerable to stinging critiques and attacks because they are part of a top-down absolutist monarchy which allows no real decision making to anyone but celibate males. This isn’t true of the Archbishop of Canterbury or the ministerial structure of Anglican Communion. Whether fair or not, absolutist monarchies are going to be critiqued more and more strongly as their very existence becomes increasingly anachronistic. Our excessive vesture is seen as a symbol of a deeper organizational problem. Theirs isn’t.


      1. Yes, Anthony! A valid link between vesture and structure.

        The most urgent aspect of renewal and reform in the Roman catholic church is the appointment of bishops by a 40+ group of elderly celibate males – an androgerontocracy.

      2. I was a bit curious too regarding the seeming double standard. Most of what occurred at the wedding, it seems to me, would have been harshly criticized here had it occurred in a Catholic context (the archaic language, the beautiful 19th century style vestments, lots of choral music in addition to hymns, the existence of a rood screen).

      3. Jack Wayne, no one here criticizes beautiful language or old language. What we hate about the new translations is that they are horrendously unbeautiful and in a style which has not trace of the rhythms of classical English prose (at least that is my position). The new translations are NOT beautiful and tradition, they are New-Fangled in the worst possible sense.

      4. I once went to Evensong at Westminster Abbey and could see nothing at all. The Rood Screen is very annoying.

        It’s true that there is something of a double standard — I have been at the quaintest Anglican masses — ad orientem etc. and found them charming. But I note that even allegedly traditionalist places like St Mary Mag’s in Oxford are quite open to women in the sanctuary and other signs of modernity.

        I was struck by the statements about Abp Williams’ cope, since he seemed to efface himself totally at the service, as did the dean and the bishop of London — so as not to take anything from the prominence of the couple. I think our cappa magna flaunting prelates may imagine that their own regalia is an instance of humble dignity at the service of God and his people. But no Anglican would dare to be as flashy and flamboyant as they are. Rowan WIlliams generally dresses simply, as a clergyman, I imagine he gets new copes made only for very major occasions. Perhaps imitation of Benedict is corrupting him, though.

      5. I wasn’t thinking of criticism of the new translation when listing things I would have thoughts folks here would find troubling, but rather the usual criticisms waged against “reform of the reform” liturgies and the use of older liturgical forms (aside for a few modifications, this was apparently culled from the 1662 BCP). In a Catholic context, I imagine anything like this would have been put down as less participatory, retrograde, turning back the clock, “nostalgic,” etc.

        What if something like this had occurred in the context of an EF nuptual Mass – and was celebrated entirely by “liberal-leaning,” humble, self effacing people with an engaged congregation? Would it have been just as acceptable? What needs to happen for older styles of worship to be “okay” when Catholics do them?

  4. How well we here at the double-wide in Possum’s Hollow remember Chris’ last visit …. Grandpa Eli Stevens hadn’t cooked up squirrels in the fry-o-lator since the celebration we had for Bill Clinton’s impeachment. And I don’t think Chris will soon forget Uncle Jethro’s special “Monica Martinis” whipped up for the occasion with grain alcohol from the Possum Hollow still. We’re waiting for your return! And hoping for an even bigger celebration in 2012! The Moroney Martinis will be waiting! If you get my drift …. Hahaha! Or in Vox Claraese: If clearly get my drift the immensity of your majesty can ….

  5. The papal beatification was a non-event in the media, especially in contrast with the wedding. “Millions” will watch it worldwide, not “billions”. The blood-relic was yucky.

    1. Fortunately, the royal wedding wasn’t held to Vatican II’s liturgical principle, “Let the signs be true …” Since according to the news reports the couple had been living together for quite a while, wouldn’t you say the wedding ceremony was sort of ….. “anti-climactic”?

      1. Jeremy, I found the references to “Sarum” usage during the royal wedding fascinating (and inaccurate) and I got to thinking about that wonderful line you once told me from the Sarum marriage rite . . . of your charity, what was it?

      2. Excellent point, Chris – but then all of your points are excellent! Some of them so excellently on target that they have to be removed … but I digress.

        Forget “to obey” – the brides of the Sarum Rite promised to be “bonere and buxome in bedde and at boarde.”

        They say once Mrs. Cranmer saw hubby’s “Green Book” version of the BCP 1549, she made him take it out. She may have been out of sorts still after riding up from Germany boxed up in that crate! Speaking of spoil sports, imagine what the Vox Clara gang of “scholars of English” would have made of that.

        Also sadly suppressed by that humorless lot (1549 not Vox Clara) was the rite by which the priest processed with the newly-married couple to bless the wedding bed. Suppose that went out with the Book of Tobit: Raguel’s daughter Sarah having all that bedroom trouble ….

      3. I know several couples who have married after a long cohabitation. No, it was not anticlimactic at all. They knew what they were doing and sealed their love in an adult and responsible way as the brave royal couple have done.

      4. Well, here’s to very different definitions of “adult,” “responsible,” and “brave.”

        And different ways of describing “cohabitation” 🙂

  6. The rood screen at Westminster Abbey comes into play mainly at services with large attendance. At typical choral Evensongs, if one arrives 10 or 15 minutes before the service, one generally can get seated in the quire rather than beyond the rood screen in the nave. Last time, I was in the Lord High Commissioner’s stall (!). On a previous occasion I spent Sunday morning at the Abbey and was in the quire for Choral Matins (and heard the glorious and sweeping W.H. Harris setting of Benedicite omnia opera Domini) and then in floor-level seating closer to the high altar (still east of the rood screen, of course) for the Abbey Eucharist. During the week, there’s also sometimes a nave altar for weekday Eucharists, so for those, everyone is west of the rood screen. There are lots of possible configurations.

    But for big events like the royal wedding, the nave will be populated with folks who can hear but not see much but each other’s fine millinery and haberdashery. 🙂

  7. Joe O’Leary :

    I know several couples who have married after a long cohabitation. No, it was not anticlimactic at all. They knew what they were doing and sealed their love in an adult and responsible way as the brave royal couple have done.

    Mr. O’Leary,

    Are you saying that cohabitation before marriage is morally okay?!

    1. Wouldn’t you need to interview the people involved before making a judgement about the moral state of their conscience?

      1. I would think that one could speak to the objective morality of an action like cohabitation without interviews.

  8. Jack Wayne :

    What needs to happen for older styles of worship to be “okay” when Catholics do them?

    What has to happen is full, conscious, and active participation by all present, not just by those promoting the EF. My opinion is that finding a willing level of participation in the EF in the ordinary US RC parish that is even equivalent to, much less exceeding, current participation level in OF is unlikely.

    1. Your opinion is probably correct – most people won’t be able to participate in a form of Mass that is unfamiliar to them in another language without working at it a little. Those not wishing to participate usually have a number of vernacular Masses they can choose to attend instead, so they don’t have any real reason to try and participate if they don’t like it immediately. You will probably never have a situation where a typical congregation could easily participate in the EF if it were unexpectedly celebrated in place of an English OF (just as you wouldn’t get the same participation if it was suddenly celebrated in Spanish or Polish).

      Of course, the EF isn’t somehow magically harder to participate in than the OF once you disregard that one is usually in the vernacular and the other is always in Latin. I would actually contend that an EF is a bit easier than a Latin OF since you don’t have to figure out which options the celebrant has chosen. Also, saying that it’s wrong to celebrate a Mass because anyone off the street might not be able to fully participate seems a poor reason to try and deny it to those who are willing to participate, and could easily be used to suppress any Mass that isn’t in the dominant language or liturgical style of an area.

      1. Why do so many have to go beyond the facts? Why introduce something with “once you disregard that one … is always in Latin”?

        Why exaggerate to the point of erecting the straw man which no one has proposed, “saying that it’s wrong to celebrate a Mass … and deny it to those who are willing?” That you effectively demolish that straw man is irrelevant.

        Why can you not accept that many liturgists accept that a Latin Roman Canon is legal and desirable for many people? Why can you not accept that no one on PT in recent memory has denied the desirability of the EF for those who sincerely want it?

        The question answered was that older styles [e.g. OF in Latin or EF] are acceptable for those times and places where they can reasonably expect to generate full, conscious, and active participation of all present. They are not acceptable when all present speak a common vernacular and would prefer to pray in that language, no matter how much some others might prefer those old forms.

        Stay on the topic, please. Accept being accepted. Please do not fight old battles when there is a different matter at hand.

      2. Thank you for clarifying your response – I totally misinterpreted your initial reply since it very strongly implied anyone happening upon the EF must be able to “fully…” participate for it to be acceptable in any context – an impossible goal that one could not apply to any Mass where someone might not be familiar with the language used. Glad to see I was wrong.

        I’m really not sure if we actually disagree about anything.

  9. For me the most impressive part of the service was the beautiful homily by the Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres, a distinguished scholar. It combined the erudite Anglican style of preaching with a sensitive insight into the challenges facing Christian marriage today. How many of our own clergy could match it?

    1. I believe Fr Rob Johansen or Fr Alan McDonald, for example, would have no problem matching it. They have proven themselves to be legends in their own lunchtimes.

  10. Chris, maybe I am misinterpreting your comments, but it seems like you make a habit of commenting negatively about Frs. Rob and Alan. Am I misinterpreting you?

      1. They’re just some of the priests. Wait till I start on the know-it-all deacons who don’t know their tenses!

    1. Rick: I wrote about both of them in the most glowing terms – terms which many of my correspondents think are far too glowing, given the displays both clerics have made of themselves on this blog and elsewhere on the internet – and still you’re unhappy! No dount the know-it-all deacon will be in the same, er, camp . . .

      1. Fritz

        There’s probably a John Patrick Shanley play in here somewhere…

  11. Chris, I wouldn’t say I’m unhappy. I’m an average layperson who is trying to learn more about liturgy and the upcoming changes. I know quite clearly that I am theologically unable to challenge any of you. If things change, I’ll get used to it. If they don’t, so what.

    I’m looking for someone who can help me make sense of what’s happening. All I read though is sneering between people who want changes and people who don’t. I haven’t read a whole lot of reasonable arguments from either sides–just attacks. As an uninformed layman it’s disappointing to see the two factions act so poorly. The wit and wisdom is hard to see lately on this blog.

  12. Chris, I hope I didn’t come across too harshly, but I think that in the next few months(?)-years(?) that I as an ordianary layperson will need to make a choice about the Church. Will I belong to the “Why don’t we just say wait” Church that refuses to use the new tranlation, or the “Rome has spoken Church” that uses the new translation. My pastor would prefer to “just wait”. If he does that, then I too need to make a decison: do I wait with him or move on.

    I want to understand both sides. I think there will be tough decisons for people to make in the future. I prefer to make informed decisons. Fr. Ruff just posted about the Bishop in Australia–decison time could be coming soon for plain lay folks like me. Somtimes I just don’t see the arguments through the spleen.

    1. You’ll probably best address your “which Church?” question to the Pope, who introduced the concept with Summorum Pontificum.

      Incidentally, it’s never been my perception that this blog, or anyone who frequents it, “refuses to use the new translation” (except the nasties who seek some kind of solace in the abrogated rites of the pre-Vatican II liturgy) – there’s, for starters, the world of difference, for me, between pointing out its egregious errors and refusing to use it.

      1. Is this the form of “acceptance” Tom Poelker was telling me I should accept earlier in this same comment thread?

  13. Jack Wayne :
    Is this the form of “acceptance” Tom Poelker was telling me I should accept earlier in this same comment thread?

    It is just an answer to the question asked above by Rick. Nothing to do with you or Tom. You might answer it differently, or you might just take swipes at me all day. Either way, your “acceptance” is assured.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *