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The archdeacon is, in his archdeaconry, next in the point of dignity after the bishop. . . . He is sometimes called oculus episcopi, being the bishop's vicar, charged with the duty of inspecting that portion of the diocese which is under his charge and of reporting anything that is amiss. Besides this general supervision, he holds an annual visitation of his archdeaconry, except in years of episcopal visitation, when he is inhibited from performing his functions, and these are exercised instead by the bishop in person.. At his annual visitation, and at other times, as occasion arises, it is the business of the archdeacon to satisfy himself that churches, and especially chancels, are in proper condition. and to require that any proper repairs be executed; to take note to ascertain that the services and offices of the Church are everywhere duly performed and administered. The clergy are bound to assist the archdeacon in his inspection and inquiries, and to attend his visitations.1 Rural deans have within their deaneries the same functions and powers of inspection and report as an archdeacon in his archdeaconry.2
These extracts are a neat statement of the Canon Law as laid down in several Catholic synods in medieval England, and embody the general Church legislation on this matter. It is interesting to compare these extracts with those given above, from the decrees.
Perhaps it may interest and instruct my peers if I give some actual reports of visitations. I have one made in an Irish diocese, in the eighteenth century. But it contains matter offensive to pious ears, and probably might be offensive to modern benefice holders in those lonely counties. So, being a man of peace, I forbear. This first visitation report was made by the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's, London, in 1251 :
In the Chapel of Twyford on the morrow of the Conversion of St. Paul in the year of our Lord 1251 were found:-A silver chalice gilt on the edge of the foot with a white paten and blessed hand gilt (? blessed gilt handle) (Manu benedicta decaurata); a chalice, a little broken in the foot; a stone altar not dedicated and super altar blessed and sufficient and one altar cloth old and broken; one linen frontal partly cut through; likewise another frontal of red silk good and sufficient; likewise two altar palls blessed and whole and sufficient of which one had a narrow edging of silk worked by the needle with a silk fringe; also a handsome vestment with silk furnishing, and a good chasuble with ample gold embroidery on the back, and stole, maniple, etc. belonging to it whole and sufficient, and that vestment had other veil (amictum) whole and ornamented with silk. There were there also other vestments much worn and ornamented with silk with their belongings whole but stained (or tarnished); with a white fustian chasuble not ornamented and another good silk frontal fringed. Likewise there are there two
1 Ibid., pp. 17 and 18; cf. Phillimore, Eccl. Law, Part i. chap. iv. pp. 194207, and Burn, Eccles. Law, vol. i. pp. 93-97.
9 Op. cit. p. 18.
altars outside the choir with wooden tables and little old frontals and two old palls apparently not blessed. There were found there likewise two surplices, the larger of which was torn and the smaller whole; and two Rochets, the smaller of which is whole and the larger torn. Likewise there was there a small missal without notes and insufficient, and the rubric destroyed in the Canon of the Mass and several other places, without Calendar and having many defects. There was there also a Gradual and Troparium in one volume and almost sufficiently noted. There was found there also an Antiphonary with hymns, chapters, and collects of the order of Sarum headed by a Calendar noted, and almost sufficient. Likewise a Reader old and broken having many defects in the beginning and at the end. Also there is there a Psalter cut and badly prepared. If it were bound it would suffice. Also a Handbook having many Masses and divers offices for baptizing the living, anointing, and for burying the dead, having at the end the Common of Saints, antiphons not noted, and almost sufficient if it were bound. There is also here an old Pyx, for reserving the Body of the Lord, without bolt, and a wooden vessel for Chrism without bolt and insufficient. Likewise two tin cruets whole. There is here also a cross upon the altar of painted wood. Also five tin candlesticks whole. There is no income for the lamp (i.e., for oil for it), unless by favour of the Lord of the Manor. Likewise there
is here a leaden bowl for Baptisms. Also a tin water vessel (? for the asperges) . . . The chaplain has ten acres of arable land, and a house with three cottages. It is the Chapel of the Patron Bartholomew de Capella. Also there are two bells, also an old thurible.
Want of space prevents me from giving one of the model reports of visitations, and the order and rules issued by Cardinal Orsini, Benedict XIII (1645-1730). But those given may suffice.
Probably, before this essay sees the printing press, some gentlemen, acting as official visitors, may have started on their rounds. They have received their commissions to well and truly view, with true deliverance give, between their lords ordinary and the senior and junior clergy. Others may be about to start, and Father Luke hopes that all selected may be men of grace, go, and gumption. In their travels, they shall realize the truth so neatly expressed by Eliu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, who, being exceedingly angry with Job's aged friends, said, 'Great men are not always wise, neither do the aged understand judgment' (Job xxxii. 9). They shall meet the wise and the unwise, the energetic, the capable, the useless, and La Fontaine's l'âne vetu de la peau du lion, a joyous find. They shall meet with the imperial motto blazoned in unthought of places, at unexpected points. They must, perforce, listen to biographies of the heart and romances of the liver.
The classic notes on travel and guide for travellers are Bacon's. May I save trouble by giving a few of them here? The wisest, wittiest, meanest of mankind' wrote: (1) 'Let Diaries, therefore, be brought in use'; (2) 'Let him not stay long in one Citty or Towne, more or lesse as the place deserveth, but not long'; (3) 'For Quarrells they are with care and Discretion to be avoided'; (4) 'And let a Man beware how he keepeth Company with Cholerick and Quarrelsome Persons; for they will engage him into their own Quarrells.'
Regarding the second monition, I may conclude this meditation by quoting from the visitation report of an abbey and its dependent churches, made by Cardinal Carafa and his helpers in June, 1645. They spent ten days with the good abbot and his holy monks, and noted all things carefully, terminating the report with the words: 'Ut Rmo. abbati in posterum uti mitra auro contexta et gemmis ornata interdictum sit, cum hujusmodi abbatibus tantum permissus sit usus mitrae ex simplici serico confectae.' poor abbot!
The dear old man, who taught me, in my boyhood, the gentle art of essay writing, laid down the canon that every essay should be pleasant reading for the examiner, and, that to score extra-superfine marks it should end with a telling phrase. He gave us a dozen quotation tags to add on to our blots, bad spelling and crude sentences, as telling phrases. The one I give here is not one of his. The reading of these canons of the new code and the remarks— pithy, but not polished-on the text, by Mr. Spurgeon, make me certain that it is a telling phrase. Commenting on words written by St. Paul, the popular preacher asked his audience if they ever had seen a cat walking on a wellglassed garden wall! The Christian who in life walks thusly, fulfils the apostle's monition, 'walk circumspectly.' It is a motto for an official visitor, in his visits and in his compositions of place.
IN FRANCE, GERMANY, SWITZERLAND, ITALY
(AND IRELAND ?)
BY REV. MYLES V. RONAN
THE all-important and engrossing problem of the day is undoubtedly the reconstruction of society. Whilst politicians are debating and wrangling about their pound of flesh, it is inspiring to see Catholics, in countries lately warring with one another, hurriedly lay aside bitter contentions and go back to the fundamental principles of the Gospel to construct their future national edifice. On account of the interest that, as Catholics, we take in the welfare of the Church in continental countries, and on account of the stimulus their Catholic action may be to us in the solution of our own particular problems, we have thought the following pieces of information may be worth placing before the readers of the I. E. RECORD.
In response to the wishes of his clergy, Mgr. de la Villerabel, Bishop of Amiens, recently delivered a discourse, from which we take the following remarkable passage:
How shall we clearly designate the great work that devolves upon us in 1919? A single word will express it for us: Union. The Catholics of France are wanting in organization. Victory will produce its full effects only through the doctrine of the Gospel, the principle of our civilization, national as well as Catholic; national in the temporal order, Catholic in the religious order.
A Religious Union is necessary in order that we may organize practical Catholics and sustain them in their life of faith and piety, as well as in the outward expression and in the claims of their beliefs. A Civic Union is necessary also, broader in its framework, more extensive in its plans, since its object will be the religious, political, economic, social progress of the greater France.
At the basis of the Religious Union we shall place not only the proper organization of our parishes and of our diocese, according to the decrees
of Canon Law, but the institution of Confraternities of the Sacred Heart or of the Blessed Sacrament, in which men will be grouped together, under the guidance of their pastors, solely for the adoration of Our Lord, for the more devout frequentation of the sacraments, so as to nourish their faith and their piety, to develop in themselves the holy pride of their beliefs.
Here the Bishop recalls what has already been done for the other classes of the faithful in the diocese of Amiens, to unite and organize them. He then continues :
As to the Civic Union, how shall we define it? France may be divided into two camps: on one side, men of order, realists, who wish to make their country worthy of its glory through its economic activity, its commercial and colonial expansion, but, especially, by its moral and religious worth, namely, its civilization; on the other, men of disorder, who arm citizens against one another, raise up class hatreds, threaten the prosperity of the country and its future, and risk the rendering of the blood of our heroes and the victory of our generals fruitless.
This Civic Union claims for the country the conditions indeed of all national greatness, a strong and decentralized power, respect for traditions and for the meaning of our history, of order, of method, of harmony. None of us, in order to bring about this Union, should sacrifice truth. It would be wrong to serve the cause of the country by beginning with concessions. Error brings forth only disorders and injustice. However, the firmest minds can be at the same time the broadest if they seek the basis of a Union in the ideas on which they agree with their fellow-citizens. This Civic Union will not be a mixture of every doctrine but the coalition of all enlightened patriotisms, putting an end to all religious persecutions, and concentrating every effort and every activity not on fratricidal struggles but on the greatness of France. Who shall invent this formula? Who shall inspire confidence whilst showing us a clear plan, with the powers of authority and guidance capable of assuring the triumph of this Civic Union? We know not, but it will find a warm welcome not only among the Catholics of Picardy, but also among all men of order who, in passing through our desert and seeing our ruins, recognize what faults have prepared our misfortunes and what dreamy ideologies have made the invasion possible. Victory is in our hands, and we have paid dearly enough not to profit by so costly, but perhaps salutary, an experience.
The Croix of the 15th Jauuary, 1919, publishes an article from the pen of Jean Guiraud, which is, as it were, an echo of the discourse of the Bishop of Amiens :
In the beautiful conference, in which he has laid down, in terms as broad as precise, the programme for Youths,' Father Sertillanges has laid stress on the breach that has widened in France between the religious training and the civic training of Catholics. The first, even among superior minds and intellectuals,' is most often vague, summary, primary; the second is sometimes pushed very far, even among the children of the people. This breach places religion in an inferior,