22 February 2011

Extraordinary Abbots

Thanks to a reader who sent a link to a fascinating blog which publishes this photo:

Image © traditionalcatholic.org.uk
Apparently this is the Benedictine Abbot of Farnborough, England, Dom Cuthbert Brogan, out for a rosary walk at the Brompton Oratory in London. Is he a bishop also? If not this is quite extraordinary.

The blog that posted it is well worth a visit here. Apparently it compares the Abbot above with the Abbot below. They sure both dress well.


  1. ...qui multum peregrinantur, raro sanctificantur.
    -Imitatio Christi L.1, C.23

  2. Having recently read “The Last Divine Office” by Geoffrey Moorhouse, there are some interesting parallels. Extraordinary indeed!

  3. Madame Tricoteuse22 February 2011 at 18:40

    Have a care Sir Percy,

    This extraordinary Abbot is a litigious cove!
    He may instruct Chauvelin to send a writ of two in your direction, as he did to the poor souls at Anotherabbotextraordinary. You may find yourself threatened with Madame Guillotine!

    "League of the Liturgical Pimpernel"

  4. I donot understand why the photo of the Abbot is so extraordinary? An Abbot has the right to wear Pontificals. Five years ago I was at Farnborough Abbey with local friends. I did not have the opportunity to celebrate myself, so we attended Midnight Mass at the Abbey, and we found it very reverent, sacral and liturgically inspirng. It was chanted in Latin, supposedly in the new rite, but with so many borrowings from the Old Rite that it might have well been in the old rite. The Abbot in pontificals was celebrant, there was a Deacon and Subdeacon. The monks sang. It was a very memorable Midnight mass indeed. I looked at the site which you mention: http://anotherabbotextraordinary.blogspot.com/
    and I do not understand whether this site is serious, or meant as a joke. It is - in my opinion - not worth straining one's eyesight to look at the site a second time.

  5. Albertus in the traditional rite the colour of prelates is the colour of their habit, that means black for Benedictines. How is this abbot in red? That is extraordinary.

  6. Fr. Philip (Speranza)24 February 2011 at 15:39

    While I personally may have issues with the design of the vestments worn in the photo, it is true that most abbots have the right to use pontificals. As for the alb, perhaps it is lined and, perhaps, second-hand from an old collection. What's puzzling is what appears to be a signal lack of charity in the comments. Perhaps with Great Lent just around the corner, we might do well to pray with all our hearts the prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian, yes?

  7. Fr Philip,
    Regarding charity: The situation at Farnborough has been an ongoing scandal for several years now. The website referred to is a desperate attempt by some of those who have been wounded by the Abbot to seek redress. They have tried other methods but to no avail - no one seems interested in the scandalous shenanigans of the Abbot.

    I do not personally know who it is who is running the website, but I have firsthand experience of the Abbot, as do many others.

    Justice delayed is justice denied. The Abbot has a case to answer.

  8. From published and unpublished comments it seems that the Pimpernel has touched a nerve in posting a photo of the Abbot of Farnborough. Some people definitely think there is something more extraordinary to him than that alb.

    Well folks, that's not our business here and the Pimpernel makes no judgement beyond his extraordinary dress, so no further comments will be published if the stray beyond the liturgical.

  9. This is hilarious! Of course it raises the question of the validity of his election as abbot - when there are soemnthing like 3 or (at most) 4 monks there.

  10. As a former Farnborough OSB I can assure your readers that the Abbatial Election was probably carefully planned and timed - and certainly extraordinary! The use of full pontificals outside by an abbot outside his abbey is unusual.

  11. Abbot Brogan is famous for his love of pomp and theatre. Here are some ideas for his new costume - Fellini's Roma - Catholic Church Fashion Show.


  12. Rumour has it that the Abbot of Farnborough is not bothered to provide his young monks with any formation whatsoever. Apparently, that young monk from Czechoslovakia is just working there. For all those years that he has been a monk at Farnborough he has not been taught anything - despite all the injunctions of the Canon Law, etc

    I remember an article in Daily Mail several years ago - about the Abbot of Farnborough and his ‘new Napoleonic war’. Commenting on Mr. Estrosi’s (a French minister) intention to spend ten minutes in the crypt, Fr Brogan exclaimed, ‘Ten minutes for a silence of 120 years!’ Well, we are talking here dead bodies! After all, it is not that important where the body of Napoleon III is buried – it is the fate of his soul that should be Fr Brogan’s concern. I wonder how he himself is going to make up for all those years of neglect when it comes to the formation of his young monks. I think he actually condemned himself while condemning the French. Only who cares?

    Fr S

  13. I hear that Bro Anselm Carpenter has left Farnborough recently - this leaves a community of 3 .....