Posted by Fr John Xylophone
I have been sent a pamphlet called The Great Sermon Handicap, apparently the memoirs of a British theologian called Bertram Wooster. In it I was horrified to detect a number of grave liturgical errors, signs of modernism, and other heresies. As usual, my highlighting in the extracts printed below is in bold and my comments are in red.
"There are about a dozen hamlets within a radius of six miles, and each hamlet has a church and each church has a parson [the correct term is "priest"] and each parson preaches a sermon [only one?] every Sunday. [No mention of holy days of obligation?] Tomorrow week – Sunday the twenty-third – we're running off the great Sermon Handicap. [They are in a state of mortal sin, discussing a priest's spiritual nourishment of his flock in these terms.] Steggles is making the book. Each parson is to be clocked by a reliable steward of the course, [are they unaware that "clocking" was forbidden by Pope Tempus III in 930?] and the one that preaches the longest sermon wins."
A priest dares to ahow himself in public without proper vestments.
"Why, it’s a sitter for old Heppenstall," I said. [Show respect! The correct term is "Father Heppenstall," or perhaps "Fr H" if he has his own blog.] "He’s got the event sewed up in a parcel. There isn’t a parson [!!] in the land who could give him eight minutes. Your pal Steggles must be an ass, giving him a handicap like that. Why, in the days when I was with him, old Heppenstall [see above] never used to preach under half an hour, and there was one sermon of his on Brotherly Love [I trust that he preached in Latin. However, this is a very dubious subject for a homily] which lasted forty-five minutes if it lasted a second. Has he lost his vim [Latin for "power." We'll let this pass] lately, or what is it?"
The Sermon on the Mount. Vim habet Jesus.
"Why," said Claude, "the first Sunday we were here, we all went to Twingchurch, [a parish unknown to me. Doubtless heretical] and old Heppenstall preached a sermon that was well under twenty minutes. [As agreed at the Synod of Basingstoke (the 1362 rite), all sermons should last exactly ten minutes.] This is what happened. Steggles didn’t notice it, and the Rev. [an insulting term for one of the Church's ordained priests] didn’t notice it himself, but Eustace and I both spotted that he had dropped a chunk of at least half a dozen pages out of his sermon-case as he was walking up to the pulpit. [As mere laymen, they were right not to interrupt the service by drawing attention to the missing pages.]
He sort of flickered [flickered? Such activities are generally regarded as liturgical abuses] when he got to the gap in the manuscript, but carried on all right, and Steggles went away with the impression that twenty minutes or a bit under was his usual form. The next Sunday we heard Tucker and Starkie, [priests unknown to me, so probably dangerous liberals] and they both went well over the thirty-five minutes, so Steggles arranged the handicapping as you see on the card." [At this point I gave up the book in disgust, and drafted a letter to the Pope demanding that this work of blasphemy be banned by the Vatican.]
Another blow against secularism.
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