Sunday, August 24, 2014

Father Jean-Marie Charles-Roux Has Passed Away

The Curé of Nottingham

Edit: He was a fantastic man who will be sorely missed.  He loved the things we love, and prayed earnestly for the restoration of the Holy Roman Empire, as do we. Now Mel Gibson will have to find another Royalist chaplain for his movie set.  Thanks to PV Wood for this page from the Telegraph.

FATHER JEAN-MARIE CHARLES-ROUX, who has died aged 99, brought the mystical aura of French royalism to London as a Roman Catholic priest of the Rosminian order; he was devoted to the divine nature of monarchy and the Tridentine liturgy. 
Tall, elegant, and with a theatrically silky voice, Charles-Roux wore buckled shoes and medallions commemorating martyred sovereigns, and used an eyeglass to read a newspaper during more than 40 years at the medieval church of St Etheldreda at Ely Place, off Holborn. There he celebrated the Latin Mass every morning with his back to the congregation. Sought after as a confessor, he preached lively and eloquent sermons, flattering and shocking his listeners in equal measure. 
He would emphasise the Christian duty to the poor while maintaining that the parable of the talents proved that capitalism was not only acceptable but also a moral imperative. He made clear his abhorrence of the Allied bombing of Dresden by celebrating Mass for its victims. And once, comparing the transformation of the soul to cooking, he described how it was more likely to be successful in black saucepans (meaning priests) than in grander copper ones (casting a glance at Cardinal Hume sitting nearby).

Here is a more sympathetic article from the Catholic Herald, written by Fr. Alexander Lucie-Smith.  In contrast to Father, we hope someone does take on the task to write the auto-biography of this fascinating priest:

Fr Charles-Roux was deeply concerned about the state of the Church; indeed, it made him despair, if a Christian full of faith ever can despair. In private he was always charitable but highly critical of the lack of leadership he saw in various authorities and in particular their refusal to confront the serious problems posed by priests whose way of life was not in keeping with their vocation. He told me on several occasions that he had made his concerns known, but that the superiors simply would not listen. This was a pity, because Fr Charles-Roux was a close and wise observer and they would have done well to have taken his advice.

He was not in favour of “modern” liturgy and he lived long enough to see the traditional way of doing things come back into favour. But he had long ceased to play any active role in the life of the Church by that stage. Indeed, though a very social man, he was adept at avoiding people and situations that he found distasteful. He had retired from the field, shell-shocked in the culture wars. For him, everything had gone wrong a long time ago, indeed in 1789: the French Revolution had been the start of the continuing catastrophe through which we were all living still. Marie-Antoinette, famously, was his favourite subject, though he was hugely knowledgeable on all aspects of recent French history. He was widely assumed to be an aristocrat, but the only ancestor who had played any role in the Revolution, he told me, was one of the guards at Versailles, who was killed during the storming of the Chateau on 5th October 1789. His father was a famous diplomat and head of the Quai d’Orsay, who left behind a several valuable volumes of memoirs. Charles-Roux pére had spent a great deal of his career before the War in Rome, where Jean-Marie was born. On one occasion, Fr Charles-Roux remarked to me: “I switched on the television, and there was this lady singing in Daddy’s office.” The lady was Catherine Malfitano, playing Tosca, and Daddy’s office was of course in Palazzo Farnese. On another occasion, scanning the newspaper through his monocle, a piece of glass that seemed to be no help at all, as he held the paper at such an odd angle, he asked: “Is there anything good on television tonight?” I told him the only thing on was the World Cup. “Ah,” he said after a slight pause. “What is world cup?”

A brilliant speaker, and most amusing company, and also a stimulating preacher – I have heard thousands of sermons, but his I still remember – he was a simply terrible writer, much given to prolixity and eccentric figures of speech. Sentences would continue for pages and pages of typescript. (Needless to say he never learned to use a computer, but was one of the last to keep to a typewriter.) He would send people postcards covered with spidery writing which were allusive and elusive, indeed almost Sibylline. It is a pity that he never produced any memoirs and so sternly resisted anyone writing his life story. His autobiography would have been fascinating, could he have written it. A biography would have been good too, but it is too late for that. His story dies with him, which is how he would have wanted it. After all, he knew very well that it was not about him. He abhorred egotism, particularly in the clergy.

Photo stolen from Portrait Gallery...


Anonymous said...

Was he approachable by a stranger?

I have seen images before of priests like this and a general characteristic
many of them share in my humble view is that of "un-approachability".

I accept it is but an image and not a real person but I have met in person many priests both pre and post Vatican two and quite a few of them exhibit this failing characteristic.

I certainly do not think Our Lord Jesus Christ was un-approachable when he was on earth.

Indeed this notion of the princely aristocratic priest in terms of certain external appearences and ways of dressing contains within itself the very seed of un-approacability it can be argued.

I still think priests should always be identifiable by way of dress code but when it translates into the imperial regalia and pomp of the roman barbaric empire then it makes its priests un-approachable.

This great defect has been remedied somewhat by Vat 2 but still remains
a minor problem with the episcopacy up to and including the pope.

There are many many things I disagree with concerning pope francis but I think he is sincere and right in trying to make the image of the clergy more user friendly and this I think reflects the mind of Christ.

Tancred said...

Can a man die in peace without some Bolschevik questioning whether he had a common touch or not.

I expect that since his acolyte was a lorry driver, and that he had pet names for people in his care, that he was sufficiently a man of the people.

Can't even wait till the body is cold...

Anonymous said...

I am not a Bolshevik.
Indeed had I been alive at the time I would have fought against those Russian atheists.

My comment was not directed at the late priest but at a wider issue concerning priestly dress styles that render the wearer un-approachable.

If the man in the dress is indeed approachable then that will shine through but alas many priests especially in the pre Vat 2 church allowed their style of dress to become a barrier.

I did not personally know this now dead priest and merely queried if he was an approachable individual.

Going on the picture presented at the start of the blog it is difficult to say.

My query was addressed really to anybody who ever might have had a personal encounter with the man.

Listening to priestly sermons I have always found and still find to be something incredibly tedious irrespective of any gifts the presenter might have.

Indeed often the more eloquent the spiritual orator the less approachable they tend to be.

Tancred said...

Oh, but you are.

Anonymous said...

Well you are very very wrong about that.

Your problem is that you are fixated on the external symbols of the catholic priesthood .

The kernal of the catholic is the alter Christus.

The priest is meant to be another Christ and when the priest becomes generally un-approachable as an individual for whatever reason then he is failing in his vocation.

Aristocratic dress conventions on clerics can have that effect.

I am all for aristocratic fashion but not on priests.

You judge me to be a Bolshevik purely because I criticize dress codes of priests or because I might find a specific priest un-approachable.

This is wrong judgement by you since you know nothing about me.

I am making a point concerning how I think priests ought to look from a dress POV and what I think should be avoided.

You chose to turn that into some kind of public insult that I am a Bolshevik.

I dont think you know what a Bolshevik actually is since you are so free with the term.

But hey.
Its your Blog and if you want to insult people gratuituously dont expect contibutors to stay around much.

I have made rather a few contributions already and as I already said am broadly sympathetic to the general trend of this blog.

If you cannot accept mild disagreement or criticism then I wont be spending much time here.

Tancred said...

Yes, I do insult people gratuitously who have no respect for the dead, particularly a dead clergyman.

Anonymous said...

In what way have I disrespected the late Fr. Roux?

I asked a general question concerning the type of priest he may have been and whether or not he was an approachable individual.

This was based on my visual reaction to the photograph at the top of your blog which has given me the impression that the said Fr Roux did not look like an approachable individual to me based on that photograph.

I qualified my statement by saying it was based soley on my impression of a photograph and that my impression could be wrong.

You now have turned this entire episode into a fight and accuse me of disrespecting the dead priest.

You certainly do his memory no service by your aggressive conduct.

Indeed ugly aggression appears to be a very common characteristic with many TLM supporters i have noticed and that undermines your cause.

But hey that will not bother you will it?

Tancred said...

Why not sign your comments?

It's not the time to dissect a man's motives, accuse him of being insincere or dishonest in his vocation.

He's not an insect for you to cut up.

I find your latently hostile remarks to be typical of professionals and ecclesiastical mercenaries who despise what motivates faithful Catholics.

You should at least be paid for your malicious remarks during business hours, but you're not going to practice psychology here.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tancred said...

No more unsigned comments by Mr. Autistic Psychologist till he signs his name, credentials etc...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Anonymous sir, if you have a problem with priests wearing cassocks and think they're so arrogant because you think they are unapproachable,

Then you're the one with the problem. Normal people will respectfully treat a priest especially one who recognizes himself to be a priest. You are a bolshevik because you probably expect the government to make everyone equal, and so priests don't have a right to be dressed as a proper priest- because of your fetishism towards an obscene display of poverty that you only imagine Our Lord had done. No, you do not hope for a glorious Kingdom, nor do you see any hope beyond what can be achieved on Earth.

That is why you are a bolshevik and that is why people like you always work towards the destruction of the civilization the Church had built for centuries.

Tancred said...

It's basic Emily Post not to criticized any recently deceased person, innit, but obviously, some people would rather let their vindictiveness run wild.

Anonymous said...


I suspect that the "anonymous psychologist" would be more than willing to give priests tongue-baths if they behaved and dressed no differently from other people; these people are nothing more than Latter-Day Arians who want a "brother Jesus" and not a "Lord Jesus"; these are the ones who praise those Latin-American clerics who cannot seem to shut up about Social Justice and have treated their function as sacrifical ministers of the KINGDOM of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is CHRIST, and if so, He is a KING! If you do not believe Him to be a King, who will judge the living and the dead, who is seated at the right hand of the Father, then you are not a Christian, but a counterfeit, a fake, a follower of a religion created in the peoples' own ideas, rather than accepting that true religion had come from God.


Anonymous said...

As for his disrespect for the dead-

Well, Tancred, I am saddened by the fact that these days, people will only care about anyone's death if they're some shallow celebrity who died in a dramatic fashion. And even then, only for 15 minutes before they go about their lives, not caring about their own mortality.

As a side-note, maybe this is why American media would rather care about some obscure Iraqi sect, or riots, or some suicide, because if they acknowledged that Christians ARE being persecuted, then it would contradict the narrative being told to the public, that there should be a separation between Church and State, and that your religion should be a private matter.


Tancred said...

I never knew this priest personally, never met him, but he's influenced people I have known, been indirectly responsible for a part of my Catholic Faith, and I'm grateful to him for that, grateful for his witness and his vocation, and now I have an opportunity to pray for his soul if it's in purgatory, or even perhaps receive an unexpected signal grace by his help.

Anonymous said...

Most people like a priest or nun to be recognizable by their clothing .there is no attempt to alter Buddhists monks robes or Jewish Rabbi's traditional clothing or any other religion 's rites ,strange that its only the Catholic Religion that must become modern and trendy to appeal to the masses ,Judas complained about the cost of the ointment that was used to anoint Christ on the pretext of been concerned for the poor ,he got his answer .

Anonymous said...

IN this photo, he wears a kind of hat most French diosecean priests wore right up until the Second World War. It lost favor after then, even before Vatican II. But it was part of the standard dress of French diosecean priests, and also in some parts of Spain , for two hundred years (1750-1950). In Italy, instead, there was the "Saturno" hat, the black felt flat platter hat worn by nearly all the Italian diosecean clergy......and many still do, especially the young priests. Bishops had violet hats, cardinals red, and the Pope had either red or white.
Of course, with Pope Francis, he has no interest in the saturno.....or any other pontifical vesture. UGH!

Anonymous said...

Probably not "approachable" to those who detest the Faith and the moral law and do not want to learn the truth of both and become good. Certainly approachable to those who want the sacraments, blessing or counsel of a priest of the Church.

Anonymous said...

Requiescat in pace! God bless this priest's soul, who dressed according to the dignity of his high office on earth!

And God save us from the plebian, egalitarian boorishness which so infects lesser Britian these days!

Anonymous said...

Tancred, when you first posted the news, wasn't an e-mail address provided to request that Fr. Charles-Roux be provided a Requiem Mass in the Extraordinary Form?

Apparently, the Requiem Mass will not be according to the EF. That is all I will say.

Anonymous said...

Never mind, Tancred, what I am looking for is the later post.

Thanks for your excellent blog.