Tuesday, 19 March 2013

A Catholic king deserves a Catholic burial

It is, of course, the issue of the mortal remains of Richard II of England.

           Did he have Welsh blood in him? He certainly has the
                air of a Cardigan man about him

Found and disinterred in a car park in Leicester (close to Bosworth Field) it has long been trumpeted that he will be re-buried in the Protestant Leicester Cathedral accompanied, presumably, by heretical prayers.

I have posted on this before and on the fact that, as he died a Catholic, and was first buried in sanctified ground according to the rites of Holy Mother Church, he should now have a Catholic resting place.

Furthermore, he should be re-buried after a special Tridentine Latin Mass has been celebrated in his honour and in his presence of his remains.

Forget the Sarum Mass, of course, it is likely, but by no means certain, that his original Requiem Mass was celebrated in the Sarum Rite but that is no longer in general use while the EF Mass is.

Now an unlikely call to arms has come from Cristina Odone (Odd-one) who has the following to say on the matter:-

"The prospect of a  Westminster Abbey state funeral, or of his being moved to York Minster (more than 1500 citizens of York have signed a petition for him to be moved there) would have horrified this pre-Reformation Catholic. No matter what his links to York; no matter how tickled his vanity by the offer of a pomp and circumstance send-off, he'd expect a Catholic burial.
Anything else would shock him. He wouldn't recognise the unfamiliar rites of an Anglican state ceremony. He'd regard the established Church as sacrilegious, the work of a hateful Tudor who'd taken the divine right of kings too far. When the bodies of the Russian royal family were found in a mineshaft in the Urals, they were laid to rest– with a proper Russian Orthodox service celebrated in a proper Russian Orthodox cathedral. Surely this Catholic king should be accorded the same respect?
So no more talk of York Minster or of the Abbey. Let Richard III be buried in Westminster Cathedral. John Francis Bentley's red brick building in Victoria is little-known outside the country's four million plus Catholics – it could do with a celebrity occasion to boost its profile. What better way to achieve this than by the reburial of a proud king and humble sinner?"

You may read the full account on CB's blog HERE

Well, Westminster Cathedral might ruffle a few Yorkist feathers but it's not a bad final resting place.

Mind you, I am sure that some blogger, somewhere, might come up with a genealogical link that determines that King Richard was a Welshman.

In which case I am sure that room could be made for him in Cardiff's Catholic Cathedral, if that is not an oxymoron.

Perhaps the final word should be left with those that WS attributed to Richard:

"I shall despair. There is no creature loves me,
                      And if I die no soul will pity me.
And wherefore should they, since that I myself
Find in myself no pity to myself?” 


  1. "would have horrified"? Is the good lady suggesting that Richard no longer exists? Wherever his soul is, does she really believe that anything can "tickle his vanity"?

    [Beats head against wall and falls in paroxysm of impotent rage.]


  2. LF- she is Italian after all, English is her second language, we must make allowances :)

  3. James Ignatius McAuleyMarch 19, 2013 4:02 pm

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. James, sorry, I blitzed your comment in error. The remains of Richard III are in Nottingham Diocese, sadly. Not much hope of an intervention there.

  5. Yes, he should have a Catholic requiem and burial. No, it should not be in a rite he would never have seen and would most likely be alien to him.

    Richard III ought - must - be given a solemn pontifical requiem according to the Sarum Use. The "Tridentine Mass", and edited version of the 1474 Franciscan missal, which would have been all-but-unknown in England at the time, is as ridiculous as an Ordinary Form mass, and for the same reason.

    He should also have the Sarum Office for the Dead prayed for his soul.

  6. I have seen recuperation jobs on his reputation.Online.Waste of time, why shouldn't he have been an appalling sinner? I know I am. More to the point, I would expect him to have gone to confession before battle. The church does reinter all sorts of people, what's the rubrics on it? His familiarity in life with any particular rite is piffle- who knows what rite of burial many crusaders had ?
    Come to that have the oldest Anglican cathedrals and abbeys been deconsecrated since catholic times? Their altars have most definitely been profaned, usually. But can you as a catholic, reinter someone on hallowed ground , atr present with sorter squatters on it?
    Somebody must know this sort of thing.
    I would expect that whomsoever envisaged national Bishops conferences as a good thing envisaged a depositary of such things.
    But can anyone actually say? what happens when a catholic burial place is disturbed to roadwidening etc? Its not just into the lorry and off to the tip .Do Anglicans have valid tips, come to that, I mean, they have valid baprtism, it doesn't go all that much further.
    Be good to get something right.

  7. Richard III [of Gloucester] was NOT Welsh - He was a Northamptonshire Man born and raised at Fotheringhay Castle [where Mary Queen of Scots was executed]
    Although the Castle is no more...we Northants Catholics are here!!
    He was no Leicesterman or Yorkshireman - and his English accent would have been surprisingly close to received [pre-esturary BBC English] pronunciation [it originates from Northants merchants]
    Of course His Catholic Majesty should be buried in Westminster Cathedral - and technically because of the 'awkwardness of the eighth Hal' it should technically be a Pontifical Requiem Mass - but the local masses of the time were Sarum with a Benedictine/Cluniac twist...

  8. Paul - the Welsh angle was just a sliver of warped humour. It is hard enough to arrange for a TLM to be celebrated let alone a Pontifical Mass in the Sarum Rite. Richard.

  9. If Richard III is to be buried in an anglican cathedral you can be sure representatives of the catholic hirearchy will be in attendance to give it credence.Any calls for a catholic burial will not be coming from them.
    My prefered option: Sarum Rite/Westminster Cathedral.