Wednesday, March 28, 2012
He was responsible for the reconversion of Rome, from a place that was so scandalously corrupt that it sent half of Europe off into heresy, to the resonating heart of the Counter-Reformation, no wonder he is called the Rome's third apostle. His sanctity solid inspired so much, not just founders of the then new religious movements: Loyola, de Lellis and others but also the artists that moved the church from the Medieval into the new world of the Baroque. His Chiesa Nuova was a landmark in architectural style and form, the development of the Oratorio, backbone of the pious youth he gathered around him was the inspiration of composers and poets, owed a great deal to him. In the same way his encouragement of the scholarly work of Barronius and so many others to give a new seriousness to Catholic scholarship. In all things he encouraged excellence, generosity, beauty and holiness, more than that he managed to unite them to the service of the greater glory of God, and so bring about a great resurgence in the Christian Church, that spread throughout the world.
When I was young the Brompton Oratory was regarded as almost the annexe of the Victoria Albert Museum next door, hanging on to a world and a Church that seemed to have passed. It stood out against liturgical practice of practically everywhere else, yet increasingly its style of worship seems to be becoming mainstream, mainly under the influence of Pope Benedict, who seems to reflect their own sensibilities. NLM reports the founding of a new Oratory in Cincinnati, not that common an occurrence but the founding of the Oxford Oratory two decades ago has had a significant on the growth of the faith in that city and university, the same could be said of the Oratory in Toronto too.
Without the London Oratory I am sure the glorious musical tradition of Westminster Cathedral would have been destroyed years ago. The three Oratories in this country have offered a refreshing vision of dynamic Tradition.
I am intrigued by, and welcome, the election of Fr Julian Large as the new Provost of Brompton Oratory to replace Fr Ignatius Harrison who for the past few months has been Provost of both London and Birmingham Oratories. Fr Julian's election is perhaps a sign that London is about to take a step further along the path of Pope Benedict's reforms and vision.
One of St Philips maxims was, "to seek to be unknown", it was his influence that was so important, in the same way that our English Oratories seem to have an influence, a leavening on the English church, let us pray it continues.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake