Tuesday, 9 October 2012

State funeral for Richard III?......

They'll have to make it a full Tridentine Latin Mass!

The Member of Parliament for Leicester South, Jon Ashworth, in reference to the skeletal remains found in a city supermarket car park, believed to be those of King Richard III, has stated that:

 "I think he should have a state funeral because he is the last English monarch to have died on a battlefield.
But there are some questions we have to confront.
He would have been a Catholic, whereas today's monarch is head of the Church of England, so I would anticipate some sort of service which involves both a Catholic priest and Church of England clergy."

"some sort of  a service" is not good enough

Uh-oh! Richard was a Catholic therefore, forget all that monarch being the head of the C of E rubbish, that has nothing to do with it.

As a Catholic he deserves a Catholic funeral.
I think that, were he able to comment on the prospect of a couple of vicars or vicarettes sharing the sanctuary, he would really take the hump (ugh!).

And not only a Catholic funeral but, as a card carrying Extraordinary Form of Catholic King, he would command an Extraordinary Form Requiem Mass, sung with hordes of tonsured monks in attendance - and not in a Protestant Cathedral.

It would be inconceivable to do less.
Can you imagine Mass in the vernacular? With C of E ministers joining in?
There would be echoes of: "Off with their heads".

But, with a TLM one might hear a whisper of : "Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York"


  1. Extraordinary Form by all means- but "Tridentine" sounds a bit too modern. He died in 1485, after all.
    How about according to the Use of Sarum?...or should that be York?

  2. Sarum or York would smack of antiquarianism as neither rite is in current use. However, there is a Dominican priory in Leicester (Holy Cross) which celebrates the 13th century Dominican rite on a regular basis, and this would be eminently suitable for the King's obsequies (should the remains turn out to be his).

  3. A Mass in the traditional form would be most fitting. I like @John Nolan's idea for a Mass in the Dominican Rite, which he would most likely have recognized. I would prefer it to be completely chanted though; polyphony as we know it e.g. Palestrina wasn't around yet!
    Question: Are there any complete missals and other liturgical books for the uses of Sarum and York, and what permissions does one need to use them?

  4. I do wonder if Richard was the complete rotter Shakespeare makes him? Well, may God bless him, and all of us. And, good or bad, we owe him and all the departed a Catholic funeral, the charitable part of "the dead charitably enclosed in clay." (Henry V)

    - Mack in Texas


  5. Mack, I agree although there is the issue of the princes in the tower. Patricius, right as always but I too favour John Nolan's suggestion and Matthew Roth, I agree also. However, I do ask if we are not getting a trifle hung up on liturgical precision. Pope St Pius V 'pronounced' on the Mass a few hundred years later and, maybe, it just should be a TLM after all.

  6. The only extant polyphonic setting of the Requiem Mass which dates from the 15th century is by Johannes Ockeghem; it is incomplete and the texts for the Gradual and Tract (Si ambulem and Sicut cervus) are not the familiar ones. Perhaps polyphony was regarded as too festal for funeral rites.

    Richard would have won at Bosworth had it not been for Stanley's treachery. England would then have been spared the Tudor despotism and the schism and heresy the Welsh usurpers imposed on this unhappy land.

  7. @Richard Collins I wouldn't get hung up on the liturgical precision. After all, it's a practical application of the study of liturgical development!
    @Mack, I tend to agree that Richard III, save the princes as Richard pointed out, might not deserve the reputation Shakespeare puts on him. It would look bad if the Bard praised the enemy of the monarch.

  8. The King must receive a high funeral mass that he would recognize and Pope Francis should officiate along with highest ranking members of Church of England, creating a spectacular and gracious historical event like none other in British history.

  9. Anon - what has the Church of England got to do with it?