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A lot of the favoured new settings are musically illiterate, almost is if they were written by semi-trained teenagers, getting to grips with musical rudiments. The style is stodgy and sentimental, tonally and rhythmically stilted, melodically inane and adored by Catholic clergy “of a certain age.” Some Catholic dioceses run courses for wannabe composers to perpetuate this style. It is a scandal. People with hardly any training and experience of even the basic building blocks of music have been convinced that there is a place for their puerile stumblings and fumblings in the modern Catholic Church because real musicians are elitist and off-putting.
— James MacMillan (20 November 2013)

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Rev’d Fr. Adrian Fortescue (1874-1923)
published 2 July 2016 by Corpus Christi Watershed


T WAS AS FOOLISH A MISTAKE to judge poetry of the fourth and following centuries by the rules of the Augustan age as it would be to try to tinker prose written in one language, to make it conform with the grammar of another. There are cases where these seventeenth-century Jesuits did not even know the rules of their own grammar books. In “Conditor alme siderum” they changed lines which are perfectly correct by quantity.
—Fr. Adrian Fortescue


260 Fr. Adrian Fortescue


According to Michael Davies:

On one occasion, Fr. Fortescue was engaged in a hand-to-hand struggle with some fanatical Albanian soldiers at Hebron, and he and his companions had to fight their way with bludgeons to their horses and gallop away—in Adrian’s case with a broken collarbone. On a second occasion the caravan with which he was travelling in Asia Minor, disguised as an Arab, was attacked by brigands, and in self-defense he killed an assailant with a pistol shot.