King Richard III should be given a Catholic Requiem Mass in the Sarum Use, not a Church of England State funeral

A reader of Protect the Pope has made a very good point that should be taken up by the Bishop of Nottingham, Bishop Malcolm McMahon, King Richard III should be given a Catholic Requiem Mass in the Sarum Use, and not a Church of England funeral service. The remains of the sailors of the Mary Rose had a public requiem Mass in the Sarum Use, though this was choreographed by a CoE minister. King Richard III was a Catholic and he should receive a Catholic Requiem Mass presided at by a Catholic bishop.

Rifleman 819 writes:

[With the confirmation] through definitive DNA that the skeleton in the car park really is Richard 111 there is now talk of him being re-interred in the CoE Leicester Cathedral.

Richard Plantagenet died at Bosworth in 1485 in the Catholic Faith, a full 45 years before the English Reformation.

I hope that someone in the RC Hierarchy will forcefully point out that -whatever his alleged misdeeds-he should be given a solemn requiem Mass,of the Sarum Rite , maybe? in accordance with the state that England then was.

It would be the final humiliation to be buried again with the Catholicly-meaningless ceremonies of a church founded by the son of your sworn enemy Henry Tudor.

Soggy 21st century ecumenism would be wholly inappropriate.

Perhaps it would be the right thing to do to invite the ancient English Catholic recusant families to attend?-their ancestors having fought under various colours of Rose.’

Protect the Pope comment: The blog Valle Adurni provides interesting background into the Sarum rite including the following about its recent celebration:

The then Bishop of Aberdeen, Mario Conti, celebrated a Sarum Mass in 2000 in Aberdeen for the University. Quite apart from the fact that the Sarum Mass was never celebrated in Aberdeen before this (as I mentioned above, it had its own rite before the Reformation), it was an interesting thing to do. Alcuin Reid quotes a letter from now-Archbishop Conti in the book mentioned above, thus:

Permission of the Holy See was not sought, and I judged that it was not needed, since the Mass is substantially that of the so-called Tridentine Rite, the central eucharistic prayer, or canon, being almost word for word that of the Roman canon still in use throughout the Latin rite.

Reid adds:

In the author’s opinion, in the light of the principles operative in the reinvigoration of the traditional rite of Braga, both the Archbishop of Birmingham [in our case] and the Bishop of Aberdeen acted within their competence, in harmony with liturgical Tradition, and in accordance with the precedent of the Holy See by allowing, and in the case of the latter, by personally celebrating Mass according to the Sarum rite.


20 comments to King Richard III should be given a Catholic Requiem Mass in the Sarum Use, not a Church of England State funeral


    Of course Richard should have a proper Catholic funeral. I’m not sure about the liceity of the Sarum rite (Archbishop Conti’s argument seems particularly weak), although that would be a nice idea. Perhaps the Holy See would grant permission and, perhaps, the Nuncio might celebrate? But where would the Mass be celebrated?

    On second thoughts – wasn’t there a Use … of York?

  • Rifleman 819

    Minded to agree!

    Thanks Deacon Nick.

    It might inconveniently remind the English that they were Catholics from 597 to 1559 AD.And that the Church of England never at any time held the belief of all the English people,either.

  • Matthaeus

    Had a conversation with an Anglican friend about this earlier today. Interestingly, he was the first to assert that King Richard should have a Catholic funeral, and one befitting of a monarch.

  • Michael B Rooke

    It is entirely appropriate that King Richard III should have a funeral  Requiem Mass  in the Sarum rite which has its origins in Anglo Saxon liturgy

    “St. Osmund, a Norman nobleman, who came over to England with William the Conqueror, and was by him made Bishop of Sarum or Salisbury (1078), compiled the books corresponding to our Missal, Breviary, and Ritual, which revised and fixed the Anglo-Saxon readings of the Roman Rite. ”

    Sarum Rite
     Catholic  Encyclopaedia (1912)

    A history of liturgy may be found on this link

  • Fr Ashley Beck

    While I have cheerfully signed the online petition calling for a Catholic rite, the issue is less clear. It would seem that the Anglican cathedral in Leicester – for whom the link with King Richard has been an important tourist attraction for some time (as you can see from their websit) – is substantially the medieval parish church of the parish in which Greyfriars was situated. So the logical thing would be a Catholic funeral and burial there.

  • Haslam

    Who is responsible for organising the funeral? (legally it would the local council wouldn’t it?)

  • Anne

    Please sign the petition for his Catholic funeral

  • Anne McCormack

    Of course King Richard should have a proper catholic burial. He died a catholic. What right have anglicans to claim his body?. As was pointed out never at any time has England been completely anglican, and the only reason there was break with the Church was because a despot wanted to get rid of his lawful wife to marry his mistress.

  • Reading much of the reactionary drivel on this blog – and the hatefilled and hate mongering comments that seem so much a part of reactionary Catholic internet culture I do sometimes wish England had never imbibed Enlightenment values – values that Christians seem to be wanting to claims as their own, but rights and values they usually denied to many under Christian rule (free speech, the right to religion etc. that is not Catholic etc.). We should have never emancipated Catholics – nor allow this foul religion to have the chance to sully our monarchy.

    Who gives a toss what happens to a load of old bones… He was buried in the chapel of a mendicant community, so we can be pretty much sure he had a requiem mass. Surely to God, there are more important things you can whinge about. Like many reactionary Christians, you strain gnats and swallow camels.

    • John Dare

      Looks like Peter has come to a similar conclusion to me, get published by damning Catholics, because it would seem that Nick ‘gets off’ on that sort of percieved persecution ;)

      The curious might do worse than read Peters blog, which is very interesting. Food for thought.

      • Rifleman819

        John ,
        With respect…… are a welcome contributor on this blog ……but your knowledge of Catholicism is as robust as a melting Mr Whippy on a hot August afternoon. Honest.

      • D Newman

        John Dare,

        I must ask you whether your purpose is serious and intelligent dialogue, or to try grinningly to wind the readers of this website up? Hold us to task, offer your opinion and ask questions by all accounts, but it would be helpful to be reasonable about it.

        Deacon Nick would not run a strongly counter-cultural website in defence of the Catholic faith, nor voluntarily bring down insults and jeers on his head (not necessarily yours: see specifically the Prêt-à-Manger post), nor find so much material to report, were the ignorant hostility felt and shown towards Catholicism in some quarters not real and worthy of reporting.

      • Rifleman819

        John ,
        Read it …absolute drivel actually.

  • Rifleman819


    Calm down -not much of the cool Enlightenment about you is there?

    Firstly …are Catholics pre-US Civil War southern state “niggers” then barely human and to have their 1829 empancipation rights withdrawn?

    How quaint. How condescending.Not a relative of Richard Dawkins , are we??

    Or are we the descendents of Englishmen who were proud Catholics for a mere 962 years before the Reformation? And saw their priests and laity disembowelled before their eyes?

    “sully our monarchy”…what a larf……….Go and have a look at our coinage please…”Fidei Defensor” 1521. Check it out-it may surprise you.

    When you have progressed beyond the “Janet and John” history book stage we can have an interesting discussion.

  • paul

    The Anglican Church is the ancient church of our islands the reformation never changed that,I have to admit I hate the way the Protestent ways were forced upon us,but The Oxford Movement sorted that out and our church was and is and always will be Catholic Roman No But Catholic yes and its part of the very soul of England one day the woman so called priests will be no more and we will have our ancient church back,Rome can say what it will but our orders are valid and always will be

  • Meg Crane

    I think York Minster would have been more appropriate than Leicester – but surely the real issue is the rite, not the place? Richard should have the ceremony appropriate to his faith and his time – I presume that this is indeed the Sarum rite. And – whether historical or not – it should include the Dies Irae, that terrifying, hopeful prayer for all sinners. Perhaps it’s too much to hope for this as part of the official memorial service – but can’t the Latin Mass Society or some such body organise it at some other time and place?

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