Wednesday, September 26


Breaking News on the Cardinal-Duke of York

Who is still, sadly, dead.

But, get this: an event that incorporates the Knights of Malta, the Jacobite pretender, a solemn pontifical requiem mass, heraldry, and a catafaque with both an ermine cloak and a jeweled mitre. Sounds like one of my freaky liturgical dreams/nightmares? (Like the one I had one night about being at the funeral of Anti-Pope Gregory XVII, that was weird. Especially since they were all wearing red vestments.)

Actually, no. This really happened.

It seems that some considerate souls got together and held a solemn high mass of requiem on the occasion of the bicentenary of the death of the king over the water, Henry IX, good old Henry Benedict Stuart, Cardinal-Duke of York, with all the appropriate trimmings. This I like for several reasons. First, who knows? Maybe he's still stuck in purgatory and nobody bothers to remember him. I try and pray for the late unlamented Henry II on All Souls' Day, myself, though he has a lot more punishment due to him than the Cardinal-Duke.

(I realize Stuart pretenders and jeweled mitres are not part of the core deposit of faith of our holy religion. But it does help make it fun.)

And secondly, say what you will about this sometime Dean of the Sacred College (or the Stuarts in general--when Henry Benedict took to calling himself the King of England, the Pope responded, essentially, "who are you kidding?" Henry nonetheless was the last King of England--or whatever--to touch the scrofulous in order to cure the King's evil, all the same), but you have to admit this is pretty nifty. Who isn't a sucker for a lost cause, especially with a deacon and subdeacon thrown in?

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