Carissimi: Today’s Mass; Centenary Requiem

Centenary Requiem Mass for Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew: Missa “Requiem aeternam

On this day, the 19th December 1919, His Grace, Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew reposed in the Lord. His Grace was instrumental in the preservation and continuance of the orthodox Catholic Faith in the west. At the time of his death, Archbishop Bernard Mary Williams, Archbishop Mathew’s successor, described the late Archbishop Mathew in the following words:

“Of the truly great Prelate who has passed beyond the veil, our most venerable and revered Archbishop, I could write much. He was truly one of those of whom the world was not worthy — a man without guile. His kindness, sympathy, and generosity were only too easily aroused, and knew no bounds. Himself a good man, he seems to have been incapable of suspecting or understanding bad faith and treachery in others, and so became a very easy victim to the unscrupulous. Unhappily, he was constantly preyed upon by persons of this type, who never failed to misrepresent him, grossly, deliberately, and of evil purpose to all who had not the happiness of knowing him. No man has ever been more thoroughly misunderstood or more viciously, wantonly, and most unjustly persecuted.

He was a man of simple tastes, possessed of a high appreciation of the beauties of Nature, with a deep knowledge of Natural History. A real scholar, whose sound learning was by no means confined to the usual fields of Clerical knowledge; a nobleman of great courage, perfect courtesy, the highest integrity, and an address which can only be described as charming. A Prelate of wonderful humility and very great personal sanctity…”

The Requiem Mass is an expression of the Communion of Saints, the Church Militant (on earth) prays for the souls of the departed expressing Christian hope that they, the departed, i.e. the Church Expectant (in purgatory), will become members of the Church Triumphant (in heaven). Essentially the Church pleads Christ that His promise to the “repentant thief” at His crucifixion [Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” 23:42-43] will be granted those who have departed this life marked with the “sign of faith” i.e. the Cross and for any for whom we might pray, trusting in the Divine Charity and mercy of God.


Eternal rest give to them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. (Ps. 64. 2-3). A hymn, O God, becometh Thee in Sion; and a vow shall be paid to Thee in Jerusalem: hear my prayer; all flesh shall come to Thee. V. Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them


O God, Who didst raise Thy servant Arnoldus to the dignity of bishop in the apostolic priesthood; grant we beseech Thee, that he may be joined in fellowship with Thine Apostles for evermore. Through Our Lord…

O God, who wast pleased to raise Thy servants to the dignity of the episcopate or priesthood: vouchsafe to number them with Thy bishops and priests for evermore. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful: grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaidens the remission of all their sins: that through devout supplications, they may obtain the pardon which they have ever desired. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.

EPISTLE Apoc. 14. 13

Lesson from the Book of the Apocalypse of Blessed John the Apostle. In those days: I heard a voice from heaven, saying to me, Write, Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord. From henceforth now, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, for their works follow them.

GRADUAL/TRACT Psalm 127. 3

Eternal rest give to them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. V.(Ps. 111. 7): The just shall be in everlasting remembrance; he shall not fear the evil hearing. TRACT Absolve, O Lord, the souls of the faithful departed from every bond of sins. V. And by the help of Thy grace may they be enabled to escape the avenging judgment. V. And enjoy the bliss of everlasting light.

SEQUENCE may be omitted

Day of wrath and doom impending,
David’s word with Sibyl’s blending,
Heaven and earth in ashes ending.
O what fear man’s bosom rendeth,
When from heaven the Judge descendeth,
On whose sentence all dependeth.
Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth,
Through earth’s sepulchres it ringeth,
All before the throne it bringeth.
Death is struck, and nature quaking,
All creation is awaking,
To its Judge an answer making.
Lo, the book exactly worded,
Wherein all hath been recorded,
Thence shall judgment be awarded.
When the Judge His seat attaineth,
And each hidden deed arraigneth,
Nothing unavenged remaineth.
What shall I, frail man, be pleading?
Who for me be interceding
When the just are mercy needing?
King of majesty tremendous,
Who dost free salvation send us,
Fount of pity, then befriend us.
Think, kind Jesus, my salvation
Caused Thy wondrous Incarnation,
Leave me not to reprobation.
Faint and weary Thou hast sought me,
On the Cross of suffering bought me,
Shall such grace be vainly brought me?
Righteous Judge, for sin’s pollution
Grant Thy gift of absolution,
Ere that day of retribution.
Guilty now I pour my moaning,
All my shame with anguish owning.
Spare, O God, Thy suppliant groaning.
Through the sinful woman shriven,
Through the dying thief forgiven,
Thou to me a hope hast given.
Worthless are my prayers and sighings,
Yet, good Lord, in grace complying,
Rescue me from fires undying.
With Thy sheep a place provide me,
From the goats afar divide me,
To Thy right hand do Thou guide me.
When the wicked are confounded,
Doomed to flames of woe unbounded,
Call me with Thy Saints surrounded.
Low I kneel with heart’s submission,
See, like ashes, my contrition,
Help me in my last condition.
Ah! that day of tears and mourning,
From the dust of earth returning,
Man for judgment must prepare him,
Spare, O God, in mercy spare him.
Lord, all-pitying, Jesus blest,
Grant them Thine eternal rest.

GOSPEL John 6. 51-55

Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. John: At that time: Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews, I am the living bread, which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is My Flesh for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this Man give us His Flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them, Amen, amen, I say to you, Except you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His Blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, hath everlasting life; and I will raise him up in the last day.


O Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, deliver the souls of all the faithful departed from the pains of hell and from the bottomless pit: deliver them from the lion’s mouth, that hell swallow them not up, that they fall not into darkness, but let the standard-bearer, holy Michael, lead them into that holy light; which Thou didst promise of old to Abraham and to his seed. V.: We offer to Thee, O Lord, sacrifices and prayers: do Thou receive them in behalf of those souls of whom we make memorial this day. Grant them, O Lord, to pass from death to that life which Thou didst promise of old to Abraham and to his seed..


Receive, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the sacrifice which we offer for the soul of Thy servant bishop Arnoldus. In this world Thou didst raise him to the episcopal rank; bid him now to enter into the company of Thy saints in the kingdom of heaven. Through Our Lord…

Receive, we beseech Thee, O Lord, for the souls of Thy servant Bishops or priests the sacrifice we offer: in this world Thou didst raise them to pontifical or sacerdotal rank, bid them now to enter into the company of Thy Saints. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .

Mercifully regard, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the Sacrifice for the souls of Thy servants and handmaidens: that to those to whom Thou didst grant the favor of the Christian Faith Thou wouldst also grant due reward. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity…

PREFACE for the faithful departed

It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, through Christ our Lord. In whom the hope of a blessed resurrection hath shone forth unto us; so that those who are saddened by the certain lot of dying, may be consoled by the promise of a future deathless life. For to Thy faithful people, O Lord, life is changed, not taken away: and when the home of this earthly sojourn is dissolved, an eternal dwelling place is being prepared in the heavens. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying:


May light eternal shine upon them, O Lord, * With Thy Saints for evermore, for Thou art gracious. V.: Eternal rest give to them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them * with Thy Saints . . .


May the abundance of Thy mercies, O Lord, which we implore, benefit Thy servant bishop Arnoldus, that by Thy mercy he may partake of that which he hoped and believed. Through Our Lord…

O Lord, may Thy mercies which we implore, avail Thy servant Bishops or Priests departed. In Thee they hoped, in Thee they believed: may they, in Thy mercy, be united to Thee for evermore. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost…

May the prayers of Thy suppliant people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, avail for the souls of Thy servants and handmaidens: that Thou mayest both deliver them from all their sins and make them to be sharers in Thy Redemption. Who livest and reignest…


Arnold Harris Mathew was born in Montpelier, Herault, France on 6 August 1852 of a Roman Catholic father and an Anglican mother. First baptized as a Roman Catholic, he was, two years later at the insistence of his mother and then re-baptized as an Anglican. He began his seminary and theological studies at the Anglican College of the Holy Spirit on the Island of Greater Cumbrae, but had a change of heart and subsequently entered the Roman Catholic Seminary of St Peter at Patrickhill in Glasgow, Scotland. He was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church on 24 June 1877 at the age of 24, by Archbishop Charles Eyre. Father Mathew was assigned to a number of pastoral ministries over the ensuing years, until his final assignment in 1888 at St Mary’s in Bath.

While on vacation in France, he met Father Hyacinthe Loyson, an Old Catholic priest who was also friends with Archbishop Joseph Rene Vilatte, and others within the Old Catholic, Independent Catholic and Orthodox ecclesiastical worlds. Father Mathew left the Roman Catholic Church in 1889, and served as an Anglican priest at Holy Trinity Church on Sloane Street in London, where he met and married his wife, Margaret Duncan. After ten years as an Anglican priest, he left the Anglican ministry in 1899 as a result of learning of the scandalous homosexual activity occurring within the Anglican Church, without the hierarchy taking any canonical action to prevent it at that time. He re-entered the Roman Catholic Church as a layman, due to his marriage, and became a prolific author and translator, earning acknowledgement from the Roman Catholic Church for his academic and literary accomplishments. Having tired of his status as a layman, he entertained the idea of returning to the Anglican ministry, (the only option open to him as a married cleric) but having not received any support for this option, by 1907 he had entered into communications with the Old Catholic Bishop of Switzerland, Edward Herzog, where they discussed the reaction of many High-Church Anglo-Catholics who feared the report of the Roman Catholic Ritual Commission set up in 1904, which denied the validity of Anglican Orders, and the strong likelihood of their embracing an indigenous Old Catholic jurisdiction in Britain. He was joined in that discussion by another former Roman Catholic priest, Father Richard O’Halloran.

Father O’Halloran claimed that seventeen priests with eight fully organized parishes were ready to affiliate themselves with a new Old Catholic Bishop if one could be provided for them in England. As a result of Father O’Halloran’s claims and presentations, the Old Catholic Bishops were impressed enough to take the decision to establish a branch of the Old Catholic Church in Great Britain. Father O’Halloran then presented to the Old Catholic Bishops, a document purporting to have been the Mandate of Election, in which the said priests and parishes had elected Father Arnold Harris Mathew to be their Bishop. To the best of everyone’s knowledge, Father Mathew had been unware of this election or of its transmittal by Father O’Halloran to the Old Catholic Bishops, until after the fact.

Once informed of his election and having secured the approval of the Old Catholic Bishops for his episcopal consecration, Father Mathew traveled to Utrecht, the ancient Archiepiscopal See of the Old Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands, to be consecrated as the first Old Catholic Bishop for Great Britain and Ireland. Upon his arrival and upon closer examination of his life, theological belief, formation, training and ministry, the fact of his marriage came to light. The Church of Utrecht was dismayed at this development as they had never considered the consecration of a married man as a bishop, but the Swiss and German Old Catholic bishops had no such hesitation as they had abolished compulsory clerical celibacy since 1875 and 1877 respectively. Only in 1922 did the Church of Utrecht follow suit. After deliberating on the issue, the Old Catholic Bishops agreed to proceed with the consecration of Father Mathew to be the Old Catholic Bishop of Great Britain and Ireland. His consecration took place during a Solemn High Pontifical Mass on 28 April 1908 in the historic Cathedral of St Gertrude in Utrecht. The consecrators were: Archbishop Gerardus Gul of Utrecht, Bishop Johannes Jacobus van Thiel of Haarlem, Bishop Nicolas Bartholomaeus Petrus Spit of Deventer, and Bishop Johan Josef Demmel of Bonn, Germany. The consecration took place according to the Pontificale Romanum, which was the only ritual for conferring Holy Orders permitted within the Old Roman Catholic Church of Utrecht. Soon after his return to London, Bishop Mathew discovered that he and the Old Catholic Bishops had been duped and mislead by Father O’Halloran as to the true numbers of clergy willing to establish an Old Catholic Church in Great Britain, and in good faith, Bishop Mathew tendered his offer to resign to the Archbishop of Utrecht. His resignation was not accepted, and Bishop Mathew proceeded under great difficulties and hostilities from both the Roman Catholic Church and from the Church of England, to build his missionary church as had originally been envisioned at the time of his consecration.

The term Old Roman Catholic is the shorter and by far the more simple and far less confusing English version of the official name of the ancient Catholic Church of the Netherlands which became estranged from Rome due to political issues and not theological or liturgical ones. That official name was: “The Roman Catholic Church of the Old Episcopal Clergy”. This designation indicates clearly that the members of this Church considered themselves to be Roman Catholic in every sense of the word, loyal and faithful to all of the teachings, worship, piety, devotions and canon laws of the Roman Catholic Church at the time of the estrangement between it and the See of Rome; and that when the See of Rome imposed an uncanonical and an illegal new hierarchy of bishops in Holland in direct opposition to the canonical bishops who had been elected, consecrated and enthroned validly according to Catholic practice, who had defended with their lives, safety and security the Catholic Faith in the face of virulent opposition and persecution from the Calvinist churches, ministers and government officials, and who were themselves the successors of Saint Willibrord and the early founders of the Catholic Church in Holland; these faithful and true Catholics remained loyal to those tried and true Shepherds of the Catholic Faith and rejected the ecclesiastical interlopers who were being imposed upon them by Rome without regard to Catholic Faith or Canon Law and contrary to the wishes of the Catholics of the country. This official name has been shortened and simplified in English to the words Old Roman Catholic Church. It refers to those church bodies and jurisdictions who to this day maintain and continue the same theological, liturgical, canonical, historical and devotional positions of the ancient Church of Utrecht. Old refers to the continuity of the ancient episcopate from the See of Utrecht. Roman refers to the theologial and liturgical tradition adhered to by these jurisdictions and church bodies. Catholic refers to these churches’ and jurisdictions’ adherance to the entire, traditional and unchanging Catholic Faith without addition or diminution, once delivered to the Saints and which the Bishops, clergy and laity of the ancient Ultrajectine tradition lived, suffered and died to preserve for themselves and for their canonical and theological posterity unto the end of time… i.e.: for us in this day and age, and which we, in our turn, faithfully and steadfastly adhere to, uphold, defend, preserve and teach with equal vigor and conviction, and which we seek to pass on to our posterity, pure and undefiled.