Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Requiem Mass for Fr Dan Cadogan

In march of this year a Solemn Requiem Mass was offered for the repose of the soul of Fr Dan Cadogan, a much-loved priest who regularly offered the Holy Sacrifice in the usus antiquior.

My friend John Beaumont, who served the Requiem Mass, wrote an article about Fr Cadogan which he hoped to have published in Mass of Ages, the LMS magazine. However, time has passed and it seems unlikely that it will now be published, so I am posting it here.

(I apologise for the quality of the photographs - they were taken with my granny's old Box Brownie!)


Fr. Daniel Cadogan and the Timoleague Chalice


John Beaumont

There can be no doubt that during the years since the Second Vatican Council the view has been expressed until lately (and even now) that the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is somewhat passé. The great hope was believed to be the new Ordo Missae, which would lead to what might be described as a new liturgical Pentecost. We know now, to our cost, that it didn’t happen. I would suggest that it was all a bit naïve anyway to think that it would. And it was certainly arrogant to think that the other and older form of Mass, which had nourished so many Saints down the ages, was by implication inferior.

Thoughts of this kind are inevitable to one like myself who has just completed a book relating the story of almost all the notable converts produced in Britain and Ireland since the Reformation. The great majority of these people knew only the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Of course, some of these converts tragically lapsed in their faith after their conversion. The names of the political activist. Douglas Hyde, and that of the poet, Kathleen Raine, come to mind in this context. But huge numbers of these converts loved the old rite and were consoled and enraptured by its spirituality. Some of them even wrote about these things. For example, here is Mgr. Robert Hugh Benson’s account in his novel By What Authority of a Mass celebrated in the troubled Elizabethan times:

Then [the priest] began the preparation with the servant who knelt beside him in his ordinary livery, as server; and Isabel heard the murmur of the Latin words for the first time. Then he stepped up to the altar, bent slowly and kissed it and the mass began. Isabel had a missal, lent to her by Mistress Margaret; but she hardly looked at it; so intent was she on that crimson figure and his strange movements and his low broken voice. It was unlike anything that she had ever imagined worship to be. Public worship to her had meant hitherto one of two things – either sitting under a minister and having the word applied to her soul in the sacrament of the pulpit; or else the saying of prayers by the minister aloud and distinctly and with expression, so that the intellect could follow the words, and assent with a hearty Amen. The minister was a minister to man of the Word of God, an interpreter of His gospel to man.

But here was a worship unlike all this in almost every detail. The priest was addressing God, not man; therefore he did so in a low voice, and in a tongue as Campion had said on the scaffold “that they both understood.” It was comparatively unimportant whether man followed it word for word, for (and here the second radical difference lay) the point of the worship for the people lay, not in an intellectual apprehension of the words, but in a voluntary assent to and participation in the supreme act to which the words were indeed necessary but subordinate. It was the thing that was done; not the words that were said, that was mighty with God. Here, as these Catholics round Isabel at any rate understood it, and as she too began to perceive it too, though dimly and obscurely, was the sublime mystery of the Cross presented to God.

The present writer finds it easy to be moved by such accounts, as he is by such accounts as that of Mgr. Ronald Knox in his The Mass in Slow Motion and that given by Cardinal Newman in his novel Loss and Gain. Then again there are those sterling articles and letters to the press written by Evelyn Waugh during the Council, where he warned the authorities of the real risk they would be taking if they jettisoned this form of the Mass. What he feared duly came to pass.

Thankfully, and probably due in a major part to the prayers of these converts (and, of course, those of loyal cradle Catholics) things have begun to change. When attending Mass in the Extraordinary Form one no longer feels as if one is practicing the faith in secret, as did those characters in Benson’s novel. The Extraordinary Form of the Mass has been liberated. A wonderful example of this liberation could be seen in the Archdiocese of Liverpool on 17th March 2010, the Feast of St. Patrick. The Mass in question was, to give it its formal title, “a Solemn Requiem celebrated on hearing news of the death of a priest.” The priest in question was Father Daniel Cahill Cadogan. For many years a priest in the Archdiocese. Fr. Cadogan was born in Cork City, Ireland, on 10th July 1922. After his early education at St. Colman’s College, Fermoy, Co. Cork, his ecclesiastical studies were undertaken at St. Kieran’s Seminary, Kilkenny. He was ordained to the priesthood at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny, on 9th June 1946.

After his ordination Fr. Cadogan spent some time as a curate in the Clifton Diocese. In 1950, however, he was incardinated into the Archdiocese of Liverpool. During his fifty years of active ministry he faithfully served nine parishes. On his retirement from active parish life in 1997 Fr. Cadogan lived at St. Joseph’s, Upholland, and then at Ince Blundell Hall, where he was chaplain to the religious community there for several years. Even in retirement he continued to play an active part in the life of the Archdiocese.

As a result of his wide experience Fr. Cadogan came to the conclusion that the last fifty years in the Church had seen a great loss of Catholic identity. Having lived through the Council and its aftermath, he acknowledged that much of what had been discarded had done a great disservice to the Church. The week after his retirement he said Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. Mary’s, Highfield Street, Liverpool. He continued to help out on the weekly rota of priests willing to celebrate the Indult Mass, as it was known until the promulgation of the Pope’s Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, in 2007. It is not surprising that he welcomed the election of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to the Chair of St. Peter in 2005. Fr. Cadogan was indeed happy to be classed as a follower of the “hermeneutic of continuity” as opposed to the group seeking a “hermeneutic of rupture” that is so commonplace in the Church today.

Fr. Cadogan spent his final days at Ince Blundell. It is apt, in view of his great devotion to Our Blessed Lady, that he died on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, 11th February 2010. He was buried at the historic Franciscan Friary, Pantasaph, Holywell, Flintshire.

And so to the Solemn Requiem in the Extraordinary Form. This was celebrated in the church of St. Catherine Labouré at Farington, near Leyland, in Lancashire. The chief celebrant was Fr. Simon Henry, the parish priest, and there were deacon and sub-deacon. The Mass was most impressive, the exquisite black vestments standing out and the choir contributing beautifully. A sizeable congregation attended the Mass in a church, which, though fairly modern in design, has now been tastefully set up for ad orientem celebration and thankfully has the tabernacle back in its place of prominence in the centre of the back wall of the building.

Interestingly, in the light of this exercise in Catholic tradition, there is also another link with our Catholic heritage. The Cadogan family is of a seafaring background and has a long historic connection with Cape Clear Island. History records that, following the destruction of the Timoleague Friary in 1642, the sole surviving escaping friar was rescued from the high seas by Cape Clear fishermen and nursed back to health in the Cadogan household. The friar had with him a box which he entrusted to the Cadogan family, to keep unopened, until his return. The box, its contents unknown, was kept safe in an alcove above the fireplace in the Cadogan household for over two hundred years until it was opened in 1851 by the then parish priest – revealing vestments (which crumbled) and the Timoleague chalice (in perfect condition). Accordingly, the chalice was returned to Timoleague parish where it has remained, excluding very rare occasions, such as Fr. Cadogan’s Golden Jubilee, when he was granted permission to take the Timoleague treasure back to Cape Clear Island to celebrate an open-air Mass – a remarkable honour bestowed on a member of the family known as “The Cadogans of the Chalice”.

A regular extraordinary form Mass is said at St. Catherine’s holy days of obligation and on every Saturday, and it is hoped that this facility can be extended. Certainly there can be no doubt that we can rely on the prayers of Fr. Cadogan for that intention and those of the friars associated for so many years with the Timoleague chalice.

John Beaumont is the author of Roads to Rome: A Guide to Notable Converts from Britain and Ireland from the Reformation to the Present Day, published on June 2010 by St. Augustine’s Press (see www.staugustine.net).


Father Ian O'Shea said...

Thank you for the beautiful article Father, and thanks of course to John Beaumont. I must have read Robert Hugh Benson's moving description of the Old Mass years ago, before I'd even had the opportunity to attend it, let alone offer it myself. Now that I am able to do so, thanks to the LMS Conferences at Ushaw, his words strike a chord in the heart. Thank God for Benedict XVI and for Summorum Pontificum, which has made this great Treasure available once again for the faithful, and for priests.

GWAM said...

Thank-you for this entry, Father: I attended the solemn requiem for Fr Cadogan on the evening in question and the whole celebration left a very deep and lasting impression on me - which I can't really articulate - save to say that I have reflected on the occasion many times since March and indeed only last week.

It may interest you to know that the Mass you celebrated that night led, perhaps indirectly (but perhaps not?), to an immediate and very rich grace.

For the occasion enabled a (very) chance conversation to take place afterward, in the Church porch, between Fr O'Shea and myself.

In turn, that timely and really quite random chat - which clarified a misapprehension on my part - directly led, just three weeks later, to the Sacrament of Confirmation being conferred upon a (hitherto somewhat diffident) third party - a young adult whom I was humbled to sponsor.

And indeed the graces have continued to flow for the candidate in question. So much so that his continued enthusiasm for the faith is now such that he remarked to me only last week that, whereas he used to listen to Led Zeppellin on his iPod on the train home, he's now listening to downloaded MP3s of Archbishop Fulton Sheen's teachings instead!

Truly, I tell you, there's a regular carriage of Merseyrail passengers who are quite unaware of how indebted they really are to Archbishop Sheen, Fr O'Shea, your own good self and, I have no doubt, Fr Cadogan of blessed memory!

GWAM said...

Erratum: Romano Amerio