A Man Under Authority

On Wednesday last, Venice said 'Farewell' to its Patriarch.  Cardinal Angelo Scola had held that office for ten years.  Now the Holy Father is moving him inland, to the See of Milan.  Now Milan is not a place to be despised — indeed it is perhaps the most populous and wealthy of all the Italian dioceses.  But the Cardinal was clearly finding it hard to say farewell to his beloved Venice.

We, Jane and I, were on an overnight visit to see our old friend Fr Howard Levett, who is, at present, Chaplain of the Anglican Church of St George.  By much string-pulling he managed to get us into the Duomo for this wonderful evening.

Fr Levett pores over a Menu

He was among the great and good in the front rows of the nave, along with other ecumenical representatives.  He tells us he saw some of the action through the choir screen.  We were more fortunate, seated in the South Transept, with a great view of the Pulpit, but also a large TV screen which enabled us to follow all the action.

The Patriarch leaving the Pulpit (his predecessor, seated, shown on screen)

And when there was no action, there were always those amazing ceilings!  Gold is everywhere — if Byzantium was like this, small wonder that the emissaries from Russia thought themselves transported to heaven.

Is Heaven like this?

It was a great sung mass, the setting being the Missa de Angelis in Bartolucci's version.  Memories of Pusey House enabled me to join in the congregational parts, and some of the hymn tunes were familiar.  The Creed, in Italian, was done in question and answer form ('Credete in Dio &c'… to which we answered 'Credo'). The Cardinal was clearly very moved as he preached.  So too were some of those who spoke after the Mass: unfortunately despite the rubric about "Brevi indirizzi di saluto" some of those paying tribute thought they needed longer than the Cardinal had been given for his sermon!

After the Celebration

So after the whole event was over, we poured out into the warm Venetian night, only to be charged 6 euros 50c (around £6) each for a single stop crossing of the Grand Canal!  No matter, we would not have missed it for worlds.  The next day we moved on to Verona; but more of the travelogue on my Ancient Richborough blog.  For this, enough to say that it was marvellous to be a Catholic in communion with the whole Western Church — and especially with the Patriarchate of Venice, for which we pray, as also for Cardinal Angelo and his move to Milan.

Author: Fr. Edwin Barnes

Bishop Barnes read theology for three years at Oxford before finishing his studies at Cuddesdon College (at the time a theological college with a rather monastic character). He subsequently served two urban curacies in Portsmouth and Woking. During his first curacy, and after the statutory three years of celibacy, he married his wife Jane (with whom he has two children, Nicola and Matthew). In 1967, Bishop Barnes received his first incumbency as Rector of Farncombe in the Diocese of Guildford. After eleven years, the family moved to Hessle, in the Diocese of York, for another nine years as vicar. In 1987, he became Principal of St Stephen’s House, Oxford. In 1995, he was asked by then Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, to become the second PEV for the Province. He was based in St. Alban’s and charged with ministering to faithful Anglo-Catholics spread over the length of Southern England, from the Humber Estuary to the Channel Islands. After six years of service as a PEV, Bishop Barnes retired to Lymington on the south coast where he holds the Bishop of Winchester’s license as an honorary assistant bishop. On the retirement of the late and much lamented Bishop Eric Kemp, he was honored to be asked to succeed him as President of the Church Union. Both these appointments he resigned on becoming a Catholic in 2010. Fr. Barnes is now a priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, caring for an Ordinariate Group in Southbourne, Bournemouth.

3 thoughts on “A Man Under Authority”

  1. I wonder if this augurs the possiility that he is papabile? Pope Paul VI was one of the greatest Archbishops of Milan. Milan was then considered to be the major Italian see after Rome. Perhaps it still is?

Leave a Reply