Sunday, December 17, 2006


You may well have seen on Rorate Caeli, the petitions from French and Italian intellectuals and artists calling for freedom for the traditional Mass. Quite remarkable. They make reference to the 1971 English petition to Paul VI asking for the same thing. It is hard to think today of a similar petition being put forward by British intellectuals and artists. Who would sign it? I can`t think of many: it shows how much British society has changed.

I particularly liked this part from the Italian petition:

........the cultural and spiritual value of the ancient Latin liturgy is a legacy of all, as is the Sistine Chapel, as is the Gregorian [chant], as the great cathedrals, Gothic sculpture, the Basilica of Saint Peter also are. Even more so today, when our entire European Civilization risks to cut off and deny its own roots.

Curiously, even "progressive Catholics", who made the dialogue with the world and with modern culture their banner, did not give any regard and fought for forty years to keep this incredible prohibition.

The `incredible prohibition` is still largely in force. Let`s hope it is lifted after Christmas!


Alnwickian said...

There can be very few of the signatories to the English Petition still alive today. One of them certainly is: Dame Joan Sutherland recently celebrated her 80th birthday and was the subject of massive (and well-deserved) tributes. The greatest singer I have ever heard.

Anonymous said...

Are you referring to the famous Agatha Christie indult?

Who else signed it?


Alnwickian said...

Here is the full list of signatories:-
Harold Acton, Vladimir Ashkenazy, John Bayler, Lennox Berkeley, Maurice Bowra, Agatha Christie, Kenneth Clark, Nevill Coghill, Cyril Connolly, Colin Davis, Hugh Delargy, +Robert Exeter, Miles Fitzalan-Howard, Constantine Fitzgibbon, William Glock, Magdalen Gofflin, Robert Graves, Graham Greene, Ian Greenless, Joseph Grimond, Harman Grisewood, Colin Hardie, Rupert Hart-Davis, Barbara Hepworth, Auberon Herbert, John Jolliffe, David Jones, Osbert Lancaster, F.R. Leavis, Cecil Day Lewis, Compton Mackenzie, George Malcolm, Max Mallowan, Alfred Marnau, Yehudi Menuhin, Nancy Mitford, Raymond Mortimer, Malcolm Muggeridge, Iris Murdoch, John Murray, Sean O'Faolain, E.J. Oliver, Oxford and Asquith, William Plomer, Kathleen Raine, William Rees-Mogg, Ralph Richardson, +John Ripon, Charles Russell, Rivers Scott, Joan Sutherland, Philip Toynbee, Martin Turnell, Bernard Wall, Patrick Wall, E.I Watkin, R.C. Zaehner.
Apart from Dame Joan, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Colin Davis and William Rees-Mogg are still alive. Any others?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Alnwickian!

Not all of these names are familiar to me: could you possibly supply a brief bio of each?

Many thanks


Alnwickian said...


I think what you ask is a bit beyond the scope of comment on another's blog!

However I think there could be an interesting book of Catholic history to be written about the "Agatha Christie Indult". Who these people were? Who recruited them? What was their interest was in the TLM? And is the Agatha Christie/Paul VI story true?

The indult that resulted was certainly very important in the survival of the TLM 'within the Church' in England.

Anonymous said...


Very excited to read of your proposal to write this history. When do you expect to complete it? Have you got a publisher yet?

I will certainly buy a copy!