Sarum at Modern Medievalism

Keep an eye on Modern Medievalism. James Griffin, who runs this blog, has put up some fine posts on the Use of Sarum this month. I celebrate Mass according to this rite each day, and have done so for the past four years, so I must be “taking it for granted”! I have neglected the more academic and historical side of the Sarum Use for some time, and I am thankful to see someone else doing it.

It’s hard work convincing people that we are not a bunch of nutters or museum curators. Sarum is just as much a living rite as the 1962 Roman rite, the Ambrosian rite of Milan or the Dominican Use. It is just a part of the western Church’s patrimony, both in communion with Rome and independent. Admittedly, few priests and parishes use it for fear of doing something “not allowed”. Over here in Normandy, in Rouen, Evreux and Bayeaux, parishes and cathedrals were doing something very similar to Sarum in terms of ceremonies and trappings whilst using the Tridentine missal up to the 1960’s, and in a few places up to the 1990’s when the last of the old priests died.

Keep the flag flying!

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6 Responses to Sarum at Modern Medievalism

  1. Paul Nicholls ofs says:

    There are a few of us nutters here in the Toronto Latin Mass Society, including myself and the president of the organization (an accomplished choir director who leads the music at special EF masses on Feast Days), who are seriously turning our attention to the Sarum Rite. Something may be on the burner, eventually. Thanks for the resource. I forwarded the link to the president of the TLMS who will be most appreciative of it. Remember us “fellow nutters” and “medievalists” in your masses.

  2. Love to see a video of you celebrating Sarum, Father Anthony.

  3. Stephen K says:

    It’s hard work convincing people that we are not a bunch of nutters or museum curators. Sarum is just as much a living rite as the 1962 Roman rite, the Ambrosian rite of Milan or the Dominican Use. It is just a part of the western Church’s patrimony, both in communion with Rome and independent.

    I agree with the thrust and/or meaning of these statements as follows: To be inspired, romantically, by what we generally would call “heritage” – i.e. something now ancient and passed on to us (by however tenuous a means) – seems to me to be a normal and healthy thing to be. There are several things I ‘look back to’ which fill me with a sense of the numinous and ‘other-worldly’ and also a deep but hauntingly delicious sadness, which translates to a spiritual modality for me. It can hardly be ‘nuttery’ and is something much more vital than mere museum curation. Insofar as the other rites you mention are themselves on varying degrees of deliberate life-support, yes, Sarum is entitled to claim equivalent living status. But it must be admitted that in terms of widespread cultural consciousness, it is, like the others, hardly alive at all in the sense most people would use the term. That it is part of the western Church’s patrimony seems also true, although it is part of the patrimony that lies in a trunk in a rarely-visited attic in Grandma’s old haunted mansion on the hill.

    I put it this way, not to impugn the rite as such, but rather to highlight its fragile preciosity. I like the idea that you celebrate according to Sarum, but were it to be become every traddie’s rite of choice, let alone be the subject of a re-establishment motu proprio, it would fall victim like every other, to the politicisation that has nothing to do with the spiritual and in short order be completely sucked of its savour.

    Perhaps not so much requiescat in pace but celebretur sine tumultu

    • You have understood things very well. What happens to the word romanticism when it becomes popularised and banalised? Just write the word into a Google search and it’s all about dating and “romantic” relationships. The same thing would come of the loved / hated Use of Sarum were it ever to become an official rite for traditionalists. James Griffin is still a naïve young man, a little less so by now, I would imagine. He is afraid of it being the preserve of liturgy enthusiasts and fogeys. I am less afraid of that if the fogeys in question have a high philosophy of life and seek a noble Christian life. Sarum is definitely not for parishes. I would go further and suggest that parishes should be preaching barns looking like 18th century courtrooms with box pews and triple-decker pulpits, and that the Sacramental Mystery should be harder to find and something that is approached through initiation (which is after all the purpose of Baptism and Confirmation).

      I am of the mind that liturgical revival of any kind only happened in the 19th century (Guéranger, etc.) because of Romantic medievalism. If people have to be evangelised, then let it be to three-hour sermons – fire in the belly – and a rattling collection plate! There was something to be said for the disciplina arcani in the old persecution days of the Roman Empire. I would be less secret about things (this blog is public and open for anyone to read), but work at quality rather than quantity.

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