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Dante & the Chair of Peter

THE CHURCH FATHERS:  Cardinal Newman & prose style.


As a young man, I was greatly influenced by St Augustine and Cardinal Newman, intellects

introduced to me, by Fr. Brian O'Higgins, of Our Lady Immaculate Church, Chelmsford, Essex, in Brentwood Diocese who appears as Sacerdos, or Priest, in 'The Christ Colloquy'. In the new

poem, he represents the eternal truth of the Roman Catholic Priesthood. He was an intellectual, saintly Irish priest, learned, selfless and much loved. 


In 'The Christ Colloquy', I come to terms with, the great presence of Dante and Shakespeare,

as the second and first centres of The Western Canon. In 'Eucharist', I have come to terms with, 'Paradise Lost', and the influence of Milton, both as a poet, and a thinker, and in 'Crucifix',

I have a new and timeless novel, to compete with Joyce's 'Ulysses'. As a more considered response to Longinus' concept of 'On the Sublime', though, I am abandoning English Literature entirely, to concentrate solely on Patristic influencesMy body of work, concludes with homilies, an expression of the notion of accessus ad auctores, in that I hope, to honour the great sermons and homilies of the Church Fathers, especially those of Ambrose, Augustine, Leo the Great, Gregory the Great, and Bernard of Clairvaux, and the art of rhetoric, expressed in sacred eloquence.


I am writing rhetorical homiles in Fr. Brian's memory, both brief, weekday homilies, and also extended pieces of rhetoric for Sundays, in order to revere the Church Fathers and the tradition

of rhetorical preaching in the Church. 'Sinai', a new genre of the traditional homily, the 'epi-homily', is a homily delivered by St Paul at St. Paul's outside-the-walls in Rome, and forms a rainbow-like bridge, away from English Literature to the Church Fathers, and the advanced ars praedicandi. The conclusion of 'The Christ Colloquy' itself, the Marian discourse, in 'Cielo', Canto XV, serves as a bridge to the highest themes.


Orotund, flames of fire, gold, licking, inflammable, lustrous

And agleam, swum, about our heads, Our Lady, blue Marian,

And her adopted, blanched son, as gold, no idol calf, but,


Utopian, shines inflammable around the head busts Papal, at

St Paul's outside-the-walls in pilgrim Rome. 'Ecce, this is the

Honour, you have done my Son, Selva, the agnus dei, in seven unlean


Colloquies, my son, so now, even Paula's Jerome, Colloquium Christus,

Has he set aside red Vulgate, with those Ravenna Seraphicum

Friars minor, these books, as Tully's thesaurus, my Library, divine


Inspiration, logos-kiss-coupled, axis of divine agency, of, my beloved

Heaven sanctuary girl, my Librarian. Your new Anselmian

'Proslogion', 'Logos Lover', burns, trajectoried, as Halley's Comet,


As you burned in courtly love for three years, from that Firenze oratory,

Then, in poetic rhetoric, my solemn servant, Solesmes Sollom'.

And, I saw, that Newmanian kindly light, kind shepherd, in his

Black habit, no careerist, no unchaste, -holy-, mens, true Primopilus.

'Well done, good and faithful servant of the Wood, choirwood no more'.

And Her: 'I return you, to what you were, untainted, at Hathaway's

Sweet and twenty-six. Ite, go make disciples of all nations, with your

New gospel, Novum Evangelium, hunting hound, you, Benedict's Adonai,

That Vatican Three, will one day occur, where, white smoke, rises above


Chapel Sistine, from Council of Trent and Pio Nono's First, when,

Nevers' Soubirous Lourdes Girl, was sainted by my condescension,

For, the grotto water washing; and, from, a past Sixties Second,


A Third Council will come, from old Chalcedon. 'The Christ Colloquy',

My seven ages, Kent stocks man, seven book donum dedisti,

My unDedalus Cardinal Newman new man, eternal sommo poeta,


You have given my Son and Me, a gospel; no Neo-Catechumenate,

Seven above and beyond, but, one hundred humbled cantos of

'The Divine Comedy', that you, turtle dove, nestled with Johannine


Eagle, may see, the winged man, lion, the ox, you, Psalm lyre, of Noah

Tar boat of Adonai, my beloved Israel Andrew, my evangelist, to

Plant fresh sprig, within hand of Comus, in choirark choirland of Heaven,

You, Noahian rainbow lux chrysolite, new gospel light of Christ, done,

Dante's Beenham dark wood, that I, this Easter Monday night, might look down

Upon the globe, a Miltonic Lycidas weeping no more, Mater Misericordiae,


To seer see, your new gospel green, sere in that fertile crescent land of More's

England'. She pointed: 'And my pair, Vocatio chose above all others, above

Orpheus and Eurydice, Cleo and Antony, Lancelot and Guinevere, Tristan


And Isolde, Romeo and Juliet, Pyramus and Thisbe, Darcy and Elizabeth,

Miles et Sarah, Andreas and Catherine, Logos-Hater's Ulysses and

Penelope, lusty Paola and Francesca. Even Dante and Beatrice themselves,


Stood before me here, shall shrink within shades of St Paul's, before,

My blessed, chosen seed, Andrew and April, Library and Librarian

Of the Western Canon, whom, I promise you this day, will, one day, upon


Their passing, be returned to their unsold birthright, of, 'the manger of light'

On flooding Nile sea of Heaven's sanctuary, and, that golden fibre, Egyptian

Moses basket of reed rushes, they were lain within, angelic innocences


In essentia, when my Son Jesus, was placed in a mnager'.

 'The Christ Colloquy' Book VII Cielo, Canto XC: 1-49, Grattan. 

Our Lady's great address, in a side chapel of St Paul's outside-the-walls in Rome, at 6pm

on Easter Monday evening, 2013. Dante & Beatrice are present, with Andrew & April, the four of them together, in a private audience with Our Lady.





manger of light'


Composed in a new genre, as a blend of Pauline homily wrought into English Literature, this

is an authoritative piece, employing the voice of St Paul, and given during the week of Christian unity, at St Paul's outside-the-walls in Rome in 2015. Recorded by Dr Christianus, of King's College, London, it is designed to be a new 'golden handbook', to nullify 'Finnegans Wake' and was conceived to honour the Old Testament, the New Testament, More's 'Utopia', and the greatest works of the Western Canon, for example, 'King Lear'. Meditating on Jesus as the Logos and 'Word', and the literary words of The Western Canon,  as they evolved from Tyndale's translation of the New Testament, it thereby unites canonical Scripture with canonical literary genius.


The Christ Homilies

These are a collection of brief, weekday homilies, written in plain prose. They owe their origins, to the magnificent, learned and direct homilies, I remember hearing delivered by

Fr. Brian O'Higgins, in Our Lady Immaculate Church, Chelmsford, Brentwood diocese, and then, reading the work of John Henry Newman. They are written simply, in order to contrast with the sermon in Joyce's 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man'. One hundred and four homilies, two for each week of the year, incorporate major feast days, for example, Easter Sunday, the Assumption, and great saints, like St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits. 


The Christ Sermons

These extended, five page homilies, access linguistic techniques employed by the Church Fathers, using rhetorical devices traditionally employed in advanced, intellectual preaching. They evolved from a first love of St. Ambrose, St Augustine, and St Bernard, and then, a desire to sublimate a love of English Literature into accessing the very greatest preaching,

delivered by saint-geniuses of the Church. The collection includes a sermon for each Sunday of the year, the theme and occasion, selected from the entire, three year cycle in the Church Calendar, years A, B and C, to include 52 rhetorical sermons in all.


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