Rorate Caeli

FIUV Position Paper: The EF and Western Culture

Today I can publish the 11th in our series of Position Papers, on the Extraordinary Form and Western Culture. 'Modern Man' and 'the Man of Today' (in the dated idiom of the 1960s and 70s) was a constant source of concern at the Second Vatican Council, and a similar concern is to be found in the writings of the more progressive 'liturgical movement' writers. Modern Man doesn't like Latin, ritual, Gregorian Chant, and so these things had to be done away with. Sadly, it would be more accurate to say that Modern Man doesn't like the 10 Commandments, just like his ancestors. But there was an element of truth in this concern. In the course of the last two or three centuries cultural barriers have been erected in the West against ritual, by the deeply embedded, though bizarre, idea that only spontaneous actions are sincere, and against a sense of mystery, by the equally powerful, though quite opposed, idea, that meaning can only be communicated by what is immediately intellectually understood. The separation of Faith and Reason in the West  has created a schizophrenic culture which is able to attack the Church and the ancient liturgy simultaneously from two utterly opposed directions, the Romantic insistence on emotional authenticity and the Enlightenment insistence on intellectualism.

As Mgr Ronald Knox said, 'any old stick is good enough to beat the poor old Church of Rome, and if it breaks, you've got two!'

This problem hasn't gone away, and we all know people (some readers may be such people themselves) who find it difficult to engage with the ancient liturgy either because it seems too formal to be 'real', or because it seems too mysterious to be meaningful. This problem will not be solved overnight. The question is whether we respond by making concessions to these feelings, or in some other way.

This paper argues that concessions - taking away ritual and mystery - are not the best way forward, and that the ancient liturgical tradition is actually well placed to address the difficulty presented by modern Western culture. There are a number of arguments put forward; a taster is the argument that since the ancient liturgy can reach us at lots of different levels, with music and art, intellectually and emotionally, by presenting the ineffable mysteries to the senses and the imagination, it is uniquely well placed to overcome, perhaps gently and gradually, the ingrained prejudices of 'Modern Man', which on examination are not merely prejudices against specific liturgical forms, but against the Faith.

I've put some more commentary on the petition of cultural figures, which secured the 'Agatha Christie Indult' o 1971, which forms an appendix to this paper, on my own blog here.

Some 'Modern Men' walking 55 miles from Ely to Walsingham for the Conversion of England, in the Latin Mass Society's Pilgrimage to Walsingham.
This paper is available as a pdf here; the full set can be dowloaded from here.

Comments can be sent to positio AT

The next paper, on Latin in Seminaries, will be published on 15th October.

Papers in preparation include the Lectionary, Holy Week, and Holy Days of Obligation.


FIUV Position Paper 11: Evangelization and Western Culture

1    The ancient Latin liturgical tradition is rooted, first, in the Western Mediterranean culture of antiquity, and then the Western and Central European culture of the Middle Ages. It was influenced by, and in turn influenced, these cultures, over many centuries, and was carried, with the rest of European culture, to North America, Oceania, and elsewhere. A key question in the liturgical debate of the 20th Century, and since, has been whether what we may broadly call ‘Western’ culture (the culture of Latin Europe, and of populations of predominantly European culture in other continents), has changed in recent centuries in such a way that this liturgical tradition, in its familiar form, is no longer an effective tool for the sanctification of the individual, and the propagation of the Faith, particularly in the context for the need for a re-evangelization of this culture,[1] which is now in many ways hostile to the Gospel.[2] This is this question we wish to examine in this paper.

        The place of the Latin liturgical tradition in other cultural contexts needs to be addressed separately.

Problematic features of Western Culture

     Western culture has certainly changed, or decayed, in ways unfriendly to the ancient liturgy. The theologian Fr Aidan Nichols, OP, cites sociological evidence suggesting that, for example, children raised without a clear understanding of hierarchy and ritual, and in a context of an atomised society, find it harder to comprehend the messages conveyed by social rituals such as the liturgy.[3]

4     The Church has always respected pagan cultures, and in purifying them of elements incompatible with the Natural Law has enabled them to flourish.[4] It might seem possible, therefore, for the Church to approach the task of re-evangelizing the West in a similarly open-minded fashion.

      The difficulty is that the cultural attitudes most at odds with the ancient liturgy are those which have derived, historically, from a rejection of Catholic teaching.[5] For example, the Romantic tradition stresses the emotions and spontaneity, as indicative of sincerity and authenticity.[6] This is historically related to the focus on personal religious experience, and the rejection of Reason in theology, found in some strands of Protestantism, contrary to the teaching of the Church.[7] A person influenced by Romanticism must reject or substantially modify this aspect of his culture, if he is to embrace the Faith.

      Romanticism is, within modern Western culture, in permanent tension with the exaggerated Rationalism of the Enlightenment. Rationalism raises problems for the ancient liturgy of a contrasting sort, rejecting symbolism, ritual, and the sense of mystery, as obscurantism. This, again, cannot be separated from an attitude of mind hostile to the Faith itself, since it is hard to see how someone with this Rationalist response could accept the ineffable mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation.

7      Pope Benedict XVI expresses the point with great clarity, when discussing the cultural significance of kneeling.

It may well be that kneeling is alien to modern culture—insofar as it is a culture, for this culture has turned away from the faith and no longer knows the One before whom kneeling is the right, indeed the intrinsically necessary gesture. The man who learns to believe learns also to kneel...[8]

As Bl. Pope John Paul II remarked:

the liturgy, though it must always be properly inculturated, must also be counter-cultural.[9]

8     In light of this, the question we face is: how, in general, and specifically in the liturgy, can we best overcome the prejudices unfriendly to the Faith which are characteristic of modern Western culture, and promote and sustain the counter-cultural nature of the community of believers?

Advantages of the Extraordinary Form

9     There are many aspects to a complete answer to this question, and indeed it has been addressed in the Papal Magisterium with increasing urgency in recent years, in the context of the ‘New Evangelization’. There follow some considerations which show that ancient liturgy is a positive force in this effort, and not at all a handicap.

       First, the ancient liturgy is characterised by an unflinching presentation of the Truths of Faith: it avoids the danger of (in the words of Pope Benedict XVI) ‘the repetition of phrases that might seem more accessible and more pleasant for the people’, ‘making the mystery a banality’.[10] For example, the reality of human sin and our need for grace, which are perhaps the truths most energetically evaded, but most urgently needed, by modern Western culture,[11] are presented insistently by the Extraordinary Form, not only in its texts (such as the Collects of Lent), but also ceremonies, such as the priest’s Confiteor before the servers’. It is a natural bulwark against the danger noted by Pope Benedict:

A weakened sense of the meaning and importance of Christian worship can only lead to a weakened sense of the specific and essential vocation of the laity to imbue the temporal order with the spirit of the Gospel.[12]

1    Secondly, as just noted the Extraordinary Form uses a wide range of means to communicate the Faith. The texts, ceremonies, vestments, and musical accompaniment of the liturgy, the lay-out of the sanctuary and the movement of ministers and servers, the complexity of some, and not other, ceremonies, the contrast between spoken, sung, and silent prayer, and the engagement of the Faithful, all communicate the Faith in subtle ways, even to those who, in Pope Paul VI’s phrase describing ‘modern man’, are ‘sated with talk’.[13] This has particular value in seeking to counteract subconscious habits of mind, and can serve as a gentle re-education of the imagination and emotions: for, in Pope Benedict XVI’s phrase, liturgy is a ‘school of prayer’.[14] The sense of ‘sacrality’, noted as a characteristic of the Extraordinary Form by Pope Benedict XVI,[15] is precisely a response to the call, made insistently by Bl. Pope John Paul II in the context of the new evangelization, for a renewed sense of mystery in the liturgy.[16] Bl. Pope John Paul II applied this explicitly to the Extraordinary Form:

The People of God need to see priests and deacons behave in a way that is full of reverence and dignity, in order to help them to penetrate invisible things without unnecessary words or explanations. In the Roman Missal of Saint Pius V, as in several Eastern liturgies, there are very beautiful prayers through which the priest expresses the most profound sense of humility and reverence before the Sacred Mysteries: they reveal the very substance of the Liturgy.[17]

1     Thirdly, even while some aspects of the liturgy may provoke a negative reaction among those formed by Western culture, the beauty, particularly of the Church’s musical patrimony, but also of vestments, altar furnishings and architecture, all used in their intended liturgical context, can often penetrate and soften the heart hardened against the Faith. The role of art as an ‘invitation to seek out the face of God’ was emphasised by Bl. Pope John Paul II.[18] This beauty can gain a hearing for the content of the Faith.

1    Fourthly, the Extraordinary Form is today the focal point of a milieu informed also by traditional spiritual writers and supported by the religious orders committed to it, which constitutes a form of Catholic culture consciously counter-cultural vis-a-vis the dominant secular culture:[19] in the phrase of Pope Paul VI, ‘they make up a community which is evangelizing’.[20] The call to be witnesses to the Faith even in the most hostile environment, made by Pope Benedict XVI and his immediate predecessors, is one which has been enthusiastically answered by Traditional Catholics, who find themselves in possession of resources from the Catholic Tradition which have been neglected by many others in the Church.

1    Finally, the Extraordinary Form has value in embodying classical cultural forms. It is impossible to study the history of art or music without seeing the contribution of the Church and the Faith, and this contribution is a living part of the ancient liturgy. Again, in the liturgy proper, the Extraordinary Form represents an ideal against which many Protestant and secular forms have reacted. A secular Westerner experiencing it may have a similar experience when seeing, for the first time, a nun wearing a traditional habit, which he had previously seen only in comic films or mocking cartoons. He will see at last what the fuss was about, and may well have to reassess judgements made on the basis of the parody.

1    This experience, of seeing clearly at last what lies at the root of Western culture, despite all the attempts to abuse and belittle it,[21] is of profound importance. The philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre describes the experience of a person who encounters the culture and set of beliefs which, he suddenly realises, is what he has been groping towards himself, as ‘the shock of recognition’.[22] Something like this shock is expressed by St Augustine in his Confessions:

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.[23]

Appendix: Cultural figures seek the preservation of the ‘Traditional Mass’ in 1971

In 1971 John, Cardinal Heenan of Westminster, on behalf of the Latin Mass Society (of England and Wales), presented a petition to Pope Paul VI seeking a clear ruling to allow the ancient Mass to continue to be said, after the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missae in 1970. Pope Paul’s response was the ‘English Indult’, which encouraged the bishops of England and Wales to give express permission for the celebration of public Masses according to the former Missal; this was the first of the series of Papal documents favouring the Extraordinary Form which culminated in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum in 2007.

The petition was signed by fifty six cultural figures, and is indicative of the alarm aroused, even among non-Catholics, by the suggestion that the former liturgical tradition was to be prohibited. They include many of the foremost writers, critics, academics, and musicians of the day, as well as politicians from Britain’s then three main parties, and two Anglican bishops. The text and signatures (in alphabetical order) were as follows.

‘If some senseless decree were to order the total or partial destruction of basilicas or cathedrals, then obviously it would be the educated—whatever their personal beliefs—who would rise up in horror to oppose such a possibility. Now the fact is that basilicas and cathedrals were built so as to celebrate a rite which, until a few months ago, constituted a living tradition. We are referring to the Roman Catholic Mass. Yet, according to the latest information in Rome, there is a plan to obliterate that Mass by the end of the current year. One of the axioms of contemporary publicity, religious as well as secular, is that modern man in general, and intellectuals in particular, have become intolerant of all forms of tradition and are anxious to suppress them and put something else in their place. But, like many other affirmations of our publicity machines, this axiom is false. Today, as in times gone by, educated people are in the vanguard where recognition of the value of tradition in concerned, and are the first to raise the alarm when it is threatened. We are not at this moment considering the religious or spiritual experience of millions of individuals. The rite in question, in its magnificent Latin text, has also inspired a host of priceless achievements in the arts—not only mystical works, but works by poets, philosophers, musicians, architects, painters and sculptors in all countries and epochs. Thus, it belongs to universal culture as well as to churchmen and formal Christians. In the materialistic and technocratic civilisation that is increasingly threatening the life of mind and spirit in its original creative expression—the word—it seems particularly inhuman to deprive man of word-forms in one of their most grandiose manifestations. The signatories of this appeal, which is entirely ecumenical and non-political, have been drawn from every branch of modern culture in Europe and elsewhere. They wish to call to the attention of the Holy See, the appalling responsibility it would incur in the history of the human spirit were it to refuse to allow the Traditional Mass to survive, even though this survival took place side by side with other liturgical reforms.’

Signed: Harold Acton,[24] Vladimir Ashkenazy,[25] John Bayler, Lennox Berkeley,[26] Maurice Bowra,[27] Agatha Christie,[28] Kenneth Clark,[29] Nevill Coghill,[30] Cyril Connolly,[31] Colin Davis,[32] Hugh Delargy,[33] +Robert Exeter,[34]  Miles Fitzalan-Howard,[35] Constantine Fitzgibbon,[36] William Glock,[37] Magdalen Goffin,[38] Robert Graves,[39] Graham Greene,[40] Ian Greenless,[41] Joseph Grimond,[42] Harman Grisewood,[43] Colin Hardie,[44] Rupert Hart-Davis,[45] Barbara Hepworth,[46] Auberon Herbert, John Jolliffe,[47] David Jones,[48] Osbert Lancaster,[49] F.R. Leavis,[50] Cecil Day Lewis,[51] Compton Mackenzie,[52] George Malcolm,[53] Max Mallowan,[54] Alfred Marnau,[55] Yehudi Menuhin,[56] Nancy Mitford,[57] Raymond Mortimer,[58] Malcolm Muggeridge,[59] Iris Murdoch,[60] John Murray,[61] Sean O’Faolain,[62] E.J. Oliver,[63] Oxford and Asquith,[64] William Plomer,[65] Kathleen Raine,[66] William Rees-Mogg,[67] Ralph Richardson,[68] +John Ripon,[69] Charles Russell,[70] Rivers Scott, Joan Sutherland,[71] Philip Toynbee,[72] Martin Turnell,[73] Bernard Wall,[74] Patrick Wall,[75] E.I Watkin,[76] R.C. Zaehner.[77]

[1] Pope Benedict XVI Apostolic Letter Ubicumque et Semper (2010), preamble: ‘In our own time, [the Church’s mission] has become particularly challenged by an abandonment of the faith—a phenomenon progressively more manifest in societies and cultures which for centuries seemed to be permeated by the Gospel.’ (‘Nostra aetate singulare id est quod cum fidei desertione contenditur, quae procedente tempore apud societates et culturas sese manifestavit, quae Evangelio e saeculis imbutae videbantur.’) Cf. Bl. Pope John Paul II Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte (2001) 40: ‘Even in countries evangelized many centuries ago, the reality of a “Christian society” which, amid all the frailties which have always marked human life, measured itself explicitly on Gospel values, is now gone.’ (‘Pridem enim iam occidit, in civitatibus quoque antiquae evangelizationis, status ille «societatis christianae» quae, quamvis tot inter debilitates quibus humana signatur natura, manifesto sese evangelica ad bona referebat.’)
[2] Bl. Pope John Paul II Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Europa (2003) 9: ‘We are witnessing the emergence of a new culture, largely influenced by the mass media, whose content and character are often in conflict with the Gospel and the dignity of the human person.’ Cf. Pope Benedict XVI, Address at Oscott College, England, 19th September 2010: ‘As you proclaim the coming of the Kingdom, …be sure to present in its fullness the life-giving message of the Gospel, including those elements which call into question the widespread assumptions of today’s culture.’
[3] Aidan Nichols OP ‘Looking at the Liturgy’ (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996) p74: ‘The slackening of group and grid whereby change in social patterns, especially in the family, brings about contempt for rite, the lack of strong social articulation in an increasingly amorphous, excessively personalized, individualized, and dehierarchicalized world: these processes, left to themselves, will tend to produce a “religion of effervescence”, incompatible with a sacramental faith.’
[4] Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ‘Doctrinal Note on Some Aspects of Evangelization’ 6: ‘Although the Gospel is independent from any culture, it is capable of infusing all cultures, while never allowing itself to be subservient to them.’ This passage ends with a footnote reference to Pope Paul VI Evangelii nuntiandi (1975) 19-20.
[5] The tension here is noted by Pope Paul VI Evangelii nuntiandi (1975) 63 ‘Evangelization loses much of its force and effectiveness if it does not take into consideration the actual people to whom it is addressed, if it does not use their language, their signs and symbols, if it does not answer the questions they ask, and if it does not have an impact on their concrete life. But on the other hand, evangelization risks losing its power and disappearing altogether if one empties or adulterates its content under the pretext of translating it’ (‘cum evangelizatio multum suae virtutis suaeque efficacitatis amittat, nisi rationem habeat populi, ad quem reapse dirigitur, nisi eius lingua eiusque signibus et imaginibus utatur, nisi quaestionibus respondeat, quas ipse ponit, nisi demum eius verum vivendi morem tangat et moveat. Altera vero ex parte, evangelizatio in periculo est, ne naturam sibi propriam perdat et omnino evanescat, si, per speciem res, quas continet, in sermonem transferendi.’)
[6] Pope Paul VI Evangelii nuntiandi 76: ‘It is often said nowadays that the present century thirsts for authenticity. Especially in regard to young people it is said that they have a horror of the artificial or false and that they are searching above all for truth and honesty.’ (‘Saepius, enim, homines dictitant aetatem nostram sitire sinceritatem ac veritatem rerum. Adulescentes praesertim dicuntur abhorrere prorsus ab omni falsa vel ficticia rerum natura, atque contra requirere totam earum veritatem ei claritatem.’)
[7] That religious emotion is neither a necessary nor a sufficient indication of a state of Grace, and that one may prove the existence of God, and have sufficient grounds for accepting the claims of the Church, rationally. On the first, see the Council of Trent, Sixth Session, Canon 16: ‘If any one says, that he will for certain, of an absolute and infallible certainty, have that great gift of perseverance unto the end, unless he has learned this by special revelation: let him be anathema.’ (‘Si quis magnum illud usque in finem perseverantiæ donum se certo habiturum absoluta et infallibili certitudine dixerit, nisi hoc ex speciali revelatione didicerit: anathema sit.’) On the second, see Vatican I Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius Ch. 2: ‘The same Holy Mother Church holds and teaches that God, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certitude by the natural light of human reason from created things; “for the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” [ Rom 1:20]’ (‘Eadem sancta mater Ecclesia tenet et docet, Deum, rerum omnium principium et finem, naturali humanæ rationis lumine e rebus creatis certo cognosci posse; invisibilia enim ipsius, a creatura mundi, per ea quæ facta sunt intellecta, conspiciuntur’) Cf. Pope Benedict XVI, Sermon in Notre Dame, Paris, 13th September 2008: ‘St Paul makes an appeal to the reason of his readers, to the reason of every human being—that powerful testimony to the presence of the Creator in the creature: “I speak as to sensible men; judge for yourselves what I say” (1 Cor. 10.5) Never does God, of whom the Apostle is an authorised witness here, ask man to sacrifice his reason! Reason never enters into real contradiction with faith!’
[8] Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph, Cardinal Ratzinger) ‘The Spirit of the Liturgy’ (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2000) p194
[9] Bl. Pope John Paul II, Address to the Bishops of the North Western region of the United States, in their ad limina visit in 1998: ‘Active participation certainly means that, in gesture, word, song and service, all the members of the community take part in an act of worship, which is anything but inert or passive. Yet active participation does not preclude the active passivity of silence, stillness and listening... In a culture which neither favours nor fosters meditative quiet, the art of interior listening is learned only with difficulty. Here we see how the liturgy, though it must always be properly inculturated, must also be counter-cultural.’ The term ‘counter-cultural’ has also been used by Pope Benedict XVI, Address to the Bishops of the United States of America in Washington, D.C., 16th April 2008, in the context of the importance of prayer in common: ‘If this seems counter-cultural, that is simply further evidence of the urgent needs for a renewed evangelization of culture. Cf. Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph, Cardinal Ratzinger) ‘Address to Catechists and Religion Teachers’, Jubilee of Catechists, 12th December 2000: ‘Thereby, to convert means: not to live as others live, not to do what all do, not to feel justified in dubious, ambiguous, evil actions just because others do the same; begin to see one’s life through the eyes of God; thereby looking for the good, even if uncomfortable; not aiming at the judgment of the majority, of men, on the mercy of God—in other words: to look for a new style of life, a new life.’ Cf. Pope Benedict, Address to Participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, 30th May 2011: ‘it often occurs that people wish to belong to the Church, but they are strongly shaped by a vision of life which is in contrast with the faith.’
[10] Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph, Cardinal Ratzinger) Address to Catechists and Religion Teachers: ‘Our way of celebrating the liturgy is very often too rationalistic. The liturgy becomes teaching, whose criteria is: making ourselves understood—often the consequence of this is making the mystery a banality, the prevalence of our words, the repetition of phrases that might seem more accessible and more pleasant to the people.’
[11] Ibid: ‘ “Conversion” (metanoia) means exactly the opposite: to come out of self-sufficiency to discover and accept our indigence’.
[12] Pope Benedict XVI, Address to the Bishops of New York State, 26th November 2011. These remarks are introduced by a reference to the new translation of the Missal.
[13] Paul VI Evangelii nuntiandi 42 ‘Modern man is sated by talk; he is obviously tired of listening, and what is worse, impervious to words.’ (‘Qui sunt hodie homines, eos novimus, orationibus iam saturatos, saepe saepius audiendi fastidientes atque - quod peius est - contra verba obdurescentes videri.’)
[14] Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph, Cardinal Ratzinger) Address to Catechists and Religion Teachers. He also says: ‘God cannot be made known with words alone. …To proclaim God is to introduce the relation with God: to teach how to pray.’ Cf. Nichols op. cit. pp81-86 who argues that the liturgy can be a force to restore the sense of the sacred, of hierarchy and so on which is generally lacking in modern society: ‘by worship our Christian selves are forged’ (p84).
[15] Letter to Bishops accompanying the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum
[16] Bl. Pope John Paul II Ecclesia in Europa 70. ‘Certain signs point to a weakening in the sense of mystery in the very liturgical celebrations which should be fostering that sense. It is, therefore, urgent that the authentic sense of the liturgy be revived in the Church.’
[17] Bl. Pope John Paul II, Address to the Plenary Session of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, September 21, 2001.
[18] Bl. Pope John Paul II Ecclesia in Europa 60. ‘Nor should we overlook the positive contribution made by the wise use of the cultural treasures of the Church. These can be a special element in the rekindling of a humanism of Christian inspiration. When properly preserved and intelligently used, these living testimonies of the faith as professed down the ages can prove a useful resource for the new evangelization and for catechesis, and lead to a rediscovery of the sense of mystery. … artistic beauty, as a sort of echo of the Spirit of God, is a symbol pointing to the mystery, an invitation to seek out the face of God made visible in Jesus of Nazareth.’ Cf. Pope Paul VI Evangelii nuntiandi 51: ‘An almost indefinite range of means can be used for this purpose: explicit preaching, of course, but also art…’ (‘Ad hunc enim finem assequendum adhiberi potest series paene interminata subsidiorum, veluti praedicatio aperta, quemadmodum liquet, sed etiam ars.’) Pope Paul VI is quoting himself: ‘Address to the Members of the Consilium de Laicis’ (1974): AAS 66 (1974), p. 568.
[19] Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos (Interview in ‘The Latin Mass magazine’, May 2004): ‘I don't like, indeed, those views that would like to reduce the traditionalist ‘phenomenon’ to only the celebration of the ancient rite, as if it were a stubborn and nostalgic attachment to the past. ... In reality, what we frequently find is a Christian view of the life of faith and of devotion—shared by so many Catholic families that frequently are enriched by many children—that has special characteristics, and we can mention as examples: a strong sense of belonging to the Mystical Body of Christ, a desire to maintain strong links with the past—that wishes to be seen, not in contrast with the present, but in a line of continuity with the Church—to present the principal teachings of the Faith, a profound desire for spirituality and the sacred etc.’
[20] Pope Paul VI Evangelii nuntiandi 13. Again, 42: ‘Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.’ (‘homo nostrae huius aetatis libentius testes quam magistros audit; quodsi suas hisce praebet aures, ita facit, quoniam testes sunt.’)
[21] Bl. Pope John Paul II Ecclesia in Europa: 108. ‘There can be no doubt that the Christian faith belongs, in a radical and decisive way, to the foundations of European culture. Christianity in fact has shaped Europe, impressing upon it certain basic values. Modern Europe itself, which has given the democratic ideal and human rights to the world, draws its values from its Christian heritage. More than a geographical area, Europe can be described as “a primarily cultural and historical concept, which denotes a reality born as a continent thanks also to the unifying force of Christianity, which has been capable of integrating peoples and cultures among themselves, and which is intimately linked to the whole of European culture”.’ Cf. Ecclesia in America 14. ‘The greatest gift which America has received from the Lord is the faith which has forged its Christian identity. For more than five hundred years the name of Christ has been proclaimed on the continent. The evangelization which accompanied the European migrations has shaped America’s religious profile, marked by moral values which, though they are not always consistently practiced and at times are cast into doubt, are in a sense the heritage of all Americans, even of those who do not explicitly recognize this fact.’
[22] Alasdair MacIntyre ‘Whose Justice? Which Rationality?’ (London: Duckworth, 1988) p394: ‘Upon encountering a coherent presentation of one particular tradition ... such a person will often experience a shock of recognition: this is not only ... what I now take to be true but in some measure what I have always taken to be true.’
[23] St Augustine, Confessions, 10, 27 (38): ‘Sero te amavi, pulchritudo tam antiqua et tam nova, sero te amavi! Et ecce intus eras et ego foris et ibi te quaerebam et in ista formosa, quae fecisti, deformis irruebam. Mecum eras, et tecum non eram. Ea me tenebant longe a te, quae si in te non essent, non essent. Vocasti et clamasti et rupisti surdidatem meam, coruscasti, splenduisti et fugasti caecitatem meam; fragrasti, et duxi spiritum et anhelo tibi, gustavi, et esurio et sitio, tetigisti me, et exarsi in pacem tuam.’
[24] Sir Harold Mario Mitchell Acton KBE (1904-94) Catholic historian, writer and poet.
[25] Vladimir Ashkenazy (1937-) non-Catholic conductor and pianist.
[26] Sir Lennox Berkeley (1903-89) Catholic convert, composer.
[27] Sir Maurice Bowra (1898-1971) non-Catholic academic; President of British Academy.
[28] Dame Agatha Christie DBE (1890-1976) non-Catholic writer.
[29] Kenneth, Baron Clark, OM, CH, KCB, FBA (1903-83) Art Historian and broadcaster (a deathbed Catholic convert).
[30] Nevill Coghill (1899-1980) literary scholar.
[31] Cyril Connolly (1903-74) non-Catholic critic and writer.
[32] Sir Colin Rex Davis, CH, CBE (1927-) non-Catholic conductor.
[33] Hugh Delargy (1908-76) Catholic Member of Parliament (sitting for the Labour Party).
[34] Robert Mortimer (1902-76) Anglican Bishop of Exeter.
[35] Miles Francis Stapleton Fitzalan-Howard, Order of Pius IX, KG, GCVO, CB, CBE, MC, DL, GCPO, Earl Marshal, 17th Duke of Norfolk (1915-2002).
[36] Constantine Fitzgibbon (1919-83) Catholic historian.
[37] Sir William Frederick Glock, CBE (1908-2000) non-Catholic music critic (BBC Controller of Music, Controller of the Proms).
[38] Magdalen Goffin (1923-) Catholic writer.
[39] Robert von Ranke Graves (1895-1985) non-Catholic poet, scholar, and writer.
[40] Graham Greene, OM, CH (1904-91) lapsed Catholic convert and author.
[41] Major Ian Greenlees (1913-88) Catholic author and academic, Director of the British Institute, Florence.
[42] Joseph, Baron Grimond, CH, CBE, TD, PC (1913-93) non-Catholic barrister, writer, politician (leader of the Liberal Party).
[43] Harman Grisewood, CBE, Papal Chamberlain (1908-97) Catholic actor, author, radio and television
executive (BBC Controller of Third Programme).
[44] Colin Hardie (1906-98) non-Catholic academic (Classicist, Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford)
[45] Sir Rupert Hart-Davis (1907-99) non-Catholic publisher and writer.
[46] Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-75) non-Catholic sculptor.
[47] John Jolliffe (1929-85) non-Catholic, academic and later Head of the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
[48] David Jones (1895-74) Catholic convert, artist and poet.
[49] Sir Osbert Lancaster (1908-86) cartoonist.
[50] Francis Raymond Leavis, CH, (1895-1978) non-Catholic literary critic and writer.
[51] Cecil Day-Lewis CBE (1904-72) non-Catholic poet; British Poet Laureate.
[52] Sir Edward Montague Compton Mackenzie, OBE (1883-1972) Catholic convert and writer.
[53] George Malcolm, KSG, CBE (1917-97) Catholic musician and conductor; Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral.
[54] Sir Max Edgar Lucien Mallowan CBE (1908-78), Catholic, Professor of archaeology and Fellow of All Souls.
[55] Alfred Marnau (1918-99) Catholic poet and author, the co-ordinator of the petition.
[56] Yehudi Menuhin OM, KBE (1916-99) non-Catholic conductor and violinist.
[57] Nancy Mitford, CBE (1904-73), non-Catholic writer.
[58] Raymond Mortimer (1895-1980) lapsed Catholic convert, writer and editor of the New Statesman.
[59] Thomas Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-90) Catholic convert, writer.
[60] Dame Iris Murdoch (1919-99) non-Catholic philosopher and novelist.
[61] John Murray (1898-1975) Anglican theologian.
[62] Sean O’Faolain (1900-91) Catholic academic and writer.
[63] Edward James Oliver (1911-92) Catholic convert and biographer.
[64] Julian Edward George Asquith, 2nd Earl of Oxford and Asquith, KCMG (1916-2011) Catholic colonial administrator.
[65] William Plomer (1903-73) non-Catholic writer.
[66] Kathleen Raine, CBE (1908-2003) non-Catholic poet and writer.
[67] William, Baron Rees-Mogg (1928-) writer and journalist (editor of The Times).
[68] Lt-Cdr Sir Ralph Richardson (1902-83) Catholic actor.
[69] John Moorman (1905-89) Anglican Bishop of Ripon.
[70] Charles Ritchie Russell, Baron Russell of Killowen (1908-86), Catholic, Lord Justice of Appeal, later Lord of Appeal in Ordinary.
[71] Dame Joan Alston Sutherland, OM, DC, OBE (1925-2010) non-Catholic soprano.
[72] Theodore Philip Toynbee (1916-81) non-Catholic journalist and writer.
[73] Martin Turnell, scholar and writer.
[74] Bernard Wall (1908-74) Catholic publisher and writer.
[75] Major Sir Patrick Henry Bligh Wall, KBE, MC, VRD (also awarded the Legion of Merit by the USA) (1916-98) Catholic Member of Parliament, sitting for the Conservative Party.
[76] Edward Ingram Watkin (1888-1991) Catholic convert and writer.
[77] Robert Charles Zaehner (1913-74) Catholic convert, academic, and writer.