Sunday, May 29, 2016

"the Watchfulness of blessed Q"

Ronald Knox Society
of North America
Twelve Prophets our unlearn’d
     forefathers knew,
We are scarce satisfy’d with twenty-two:
A single Psalmist was enough for them,
Our List of Authors rivals A. & M.:
They were content Mark, Matthew,
     Luke and John
Should bless the’old-fashion’d Beds they
     lay upon:
But we, for ev’ry one of theirs, have
     two,
And trust the Watchfulness of blessed Q.


Fr. Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment
     Ronald Knox, “Absolute and Abitofhell; [or Noah’s Art put into Commission, and Set Adrift (with no Walls or Roof to Catch the Force of these Dangerous Seas) on a New Voyage of Discovery;] Being a Satire in the Manner of Mr. John Dryden upon a newly-issued Work Entitl'd Foundations,” Essays in Satire (London:  Sheed and Ward, 1928), 87 (but "first in the Oxford Magazine, then in a collection of Oxford poetry, then as a tract" (x)).  In the book the allusions are footnoted:  J. M. Thompson, Hastings Rashdall, William Temple, etc. (none though in this section, albeit Richard Brook for "Jabbok" two lines above.  I was sent looking for this by Fr. John Hunwicke, "The gender and number of bishops," in Consecrated women? (2004), in Fathers in God?  Resources for reflection on women in the episcopate, ed. Colin Podmore (Norwich, England:  Canterbury Press for Forward in Faith, 2015), 193 (192-197):
. . . we are mistaken to grub around in speculative might-have-beens.  What is authoritative is not the speculative proto-history of the New Testament documents.  Mgr Ronald Knox reminded us that I do not ask Blessed Q to bless the bed that I lie on, but the canon of Scripture that Holy Mother Church sets before us.  Urmarkus and Protoluke are not our Scriptures; we owe no obsequium to the magisterium of the Jesus Seminar.  Mark's longer ending, and the Pericope de Adultera are canonical even if they were not written by the authors of Mark and John.  Ephesians, and the Pastoral Epistles, are canonical even if they are pseudonymous.  And just as the apostolic kerygma coalesced authoritatively into the New Testament, so the apostolic ministry coalesced authoritatively into the form of ministry we have received from the same age.  Speculations about the proto-history of that Threefold Ministry which is centered upon the monoepiscopacy do no harm; indeed Dom Gregory Dix demonstrated that Catholics can play these games with at least as great a show of erudition . . . and with distinctly more verve and wit . . . than Protestants and liberals.  But, wherever they come from, such speculations are not the authoritative basis upon which the tradition may be messed around with.  Those adaptations which each age calls for must develop organically from the normative tradition which Scripture, Fathers and the classical liberal traditions witness.


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