Page 1, 21st January 1944

21st January 1944
Page 1
Page 1, 21st January 1944 — Traditional Continuity and Modern Contrast

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Locations: Birmingham


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Traditional Continuity and Modern Contrast

By a C.H. Reporter

The four film companies who came to " shoot " the Enthronement of Mgr. Bernard Griffin as

Archbishop of Westminster played a dramatic, if unexpected, part in the scenic side of the ceremony.

Into the thronged aisles and naves of the vast Cathedral six hundred clergy —prelates, members of habited Orders, seculars of the diocese and visiting priests—had filed in solemn procession. The Chapter of the Canons of Westminster in their white ermine capes and purple cassocks and the College of Cathedral Chaplains in grey mantellettas and black cassocks lined the red carpeted centre aisle. The silk white and gold canopy was in its place at the west door and the Provost (Bishop Myers) in cope and mitre went down to meet the new Archbishop.

Suddenly the Cathedral was flooded with what seemed, on this drab January day, brilliant sunshine. The whole scene leapt into colour. The cinema arc lamps were in operation and the whirring machines got into position. The canopy trembled and the great door swung open.

" Here he is I" The excited whisper came from the tightly packed gallery of school children just above where I was standing. They leant out like watchers in a tower—sonic at an angle of fortyfive degreesand were the first to catch a glimpse of the small, sturdy, dignified figure in purple cappa magna who, having knelt and kissed the crucifix held by the Provost, began to move along the path of light, up towards the high altar.



It was a real family congregation among whom the new Archbishop passed. Thousands strong, they had been in their places a good hour before and those who could not get seats packed the standing space. No special places seem to have been " roped off ' —there were no sections for religion. Orders. Nuns and priests. mothers with small children and even babies stood shoulder to shoulder; visitors from overseas took their chance with the ordinary Cockneys and cheerfully craned their necks. eager not to miss a single point of the ceremony. One too

2ager spectator shinned up to the top I a confessional, where for a brief moment he had an unrivalled view.

f3ut he was quietly and painlessly removed.

High up in the Cardinal's Tribune a small section of the gallery railed off for special visitors — members of the Archbishop's family, including three sisters and and schoolboy nephews. watched, and in another part of the Cathedral was a strong contingent of Birmingham friends.

Two of the Archbishop's relatives were in the procession that was now moving up, towards the altar. The Rev. Basil Griffin, 0.5.B., his twin brother, who, in his monastic robes, walked with Mr. T. Bischoff, wearing black velvet court dress and knee breeches. Mr. A. J. Potter, a nephew. carried the Archbishop's train.


The procession with the Cathedral Chaplains, the Chaplain with the Archiepiscopal Cross, the Canons of the Chapter, and the Archbishop, did not go straight to the high altar, but turned to the left into the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament where the Archbishop remained for a few moments in prayer, coming finally into the now flood-lit chancel where the white and gold—of porphyry pillars, of vestments, and Throne, were framed in the eccles iastical reds and purples of the Church's ceremonial.

And so modern science brought the scene vividly, even to the most obscure spectator at the far end of the Cathedral—and it was a scene that few who saw it will soon forget.

The non-arrival of the Pallium shortened to a certain extent the length of the first part of the ceremony, which ended with the singing of the Te Delon. The Archbishop then walked in procession to the Lady Chapel, where during the singing of Terce he vested in Pontificals for the celebration of the Mass.


The Enthronement followed, with the Provost leading the Archbishop to the

Almighty and Eternal God, who while being the Most High. . didst humbly deign to come down amongst us, we earnestly beseech Thee that this. Thy Servant, who froth had bestowed on him the crown of the Priesthood, may advance in the dignity of humility, and even as for the ministry of his rule, he approaches to momit this episcopal throne, so do Thou draw nigh to the throne of his heart by the visit of Thy indwelling. and grant him by Thy grace to become, the seat of Thy habitation. Through Thee, Jesus Christ, who with the Father coeternal with Thee, and the Holy Ghost lives, and reignest God. world without end. Amen.

Bishop Myers then placed the Archbishop on the Throne, saying: I, Edward Myers, Bishop of Lamus, Provost of the Chapter of this Metropolitan Church of Westminster, do enthrone thee, the lord BERNARD, Archbishop in this Church of Westminster. in which may our Lord Jesus Christ THE MASS

While the choir sang the Responsory —Benedictus Deus qui to Pastorem elegit—the Provost, Canons and Cathedral Chaplains came to pay homage at the Throne. And so to the Mass for which the beautiful music of Vittoria— great Spanish composer or Church music of the fourteenth century—was sung by the augmented choir.

Modern science again came to take its part in the proceedings when the Archbishop gave his allocution. Never have the Cathedral microphones worked better. And the words that came to us, relayed through them, from the Throne, struck the note of realism that we know must always go hand in hand with the beauty and liturgy of the Catholic Church.

The floodlights had one more dramatic moment to give us when, the whole congregation joining in the Credo. the great pendant Crucifix, against its red background, was suddenly illumined, dominating the whole Cathedral.

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