Sunday, 25 November 2012

Anglicans to sell off Catholic silver

A 13th century silver chalice, known as 'The Lacock Cup' is about to be sold by the parish of St Cyriac in Lacock, Wiltshire.

A video clip giving an outline of the situation may be viewed on this link 

Expectations are running high and those charged with the sale are expecting a sum in excess of £2 million to be made by this beautiful item.

Some, however, are not so happy.

Many parishioners, according to the Daily Mail, are bitterly opposed to the sale feeling that part of the village's heritage is about to disappear into a Charles Saatchi cellar (the actual likelihood is the The British Museum will bid successfully for it).

Trouble is, when this chalice was first used, it was at a Catholic Latin Mass; it would have been commissioned by the local Catholic priest or bishop, it would have certainly been consecrated by a Catholic bishop.

Some two hundred plus years after it was first used and, after it was used at many, many Latin Masses (if only used on High Days and Holidays it would probably have carried the True Presence on over 10,000 occasions) - the debauched and degenerate King Henry VIII came along and claimed all Catholic Church properties and materials as his own.

What was once Rome's fell into the hands of the Protestant church and the state. This chalice obviously survived the fate of most chalices and ciboria which was to be melted down for the scrap value.

So now, this great vessel, with all its sanctity and Catholic history, is to be auctioned off like a set of cutlery.

I seem to recall, fairly recently, the British Government returning Aboriginal skulls, held in a museum, to  their rightful Aboriginal heirs who claimed a spiritual link to the bones.
There is no such sensitivity here.

What was once Catholic and sacred is now an object of curiosity in the market place - and no one gives a damn! Apart from worrying over the intrinsic value.

NB: Actually, if this chalice was to be returned to the Catholic Church, the authorities would probably be subject to some embarrassment as insurance premiums would render its possession within a church or cathedral environment impossible.
Likelihood is that it would be locked in a vault somewhere. Perhaps a museum is the best and most sensible place for it.

But it does seem somewhat sacrilegious all the same.


  1. Your comparison of this situation to the repatriation of bones is an apt one. The chalice which once frequently held the Precious Blood of Christ should be returned to the Catholic Church.

  2. One would think that even Protestants would possess the class and sense of history...well, never mind; they are what they have been propagandized to be since 1453. Poor things.

    - Mack in Texas

  3. I think that a museum- and one with the status of the British Museum- is probably the best place for it in the present circumstances. It will be treated with a respect deemed appropriate to an artefact of historic and artistic worth. In view of the savage re-orderings carried out in so many of our churches over the last forty years, it has to be said that, sadly, some of our clergy have little appreciation of such things.
    Historic note of possible interest:
    A few years ago I visited the treasury of Norwich Cathedral and saw examples of pre-reformation patens and post-reformation chalices. Explanatory labelling informed that, following the reformation, parish clergy were ordered to send in chalices for melting down and refashioning to look more like common domestic eating and drinking vessels. The idea was that the new items be more fitting to the protestant Communion Service with its denial of transubstantiation. While clergy generally complied with the explicit demand for chalices, patens were, in many cases, retained in the parishes with the examples shown surviving to be collected in by the diocesan authorities in the nineteenth century by which time they had acquired an antiquarian interest. We would do well to acquaint ourselves with the surviving works of our medieval forefathers in the faith now preserved in public collections as an antidote to the inferior work of recent years and as inspiring examples worthy of emulation.

  4. Genty - well yes, I thought that also but bowed to the descriptions in the press. Can a chalice have a lid?

    Patricius - agreed.