Friday 26 February 2010

A Snapshot of Britain Today

Readers of other British Catholic blogs will have gathered that our country is a strange and - in some major respects - a malign place these days.

I can add nothing to the reports of the latest legislative measures of the present government. Other bloggers have analysed and responded to the blows far better than I could. And, it appears, very much better than our Bishops could.

I would like to share what may seem at first sight a more trivial thing. But it was not at all trivial to the victims. And there is something about the mentality that the story illustrates…

From The Gloucestershire Echo, 26th February 2010, previewing a show by the stand-up comedian Tom Wrigglesworth. The following experience really happened to him:

“[His] train journey from hell wasn’t funny at the time … … Tom was just a passenger minding his own business when he overheard a train guard ordering a pensioner to pay £115 for a new ticket to London. He was so shocked he organised a whip-round only to be met by transport police officers at the station, who he had been reported to for begging.”

Tuesday 23 February 2010

"Let me no wrong or idle word unthinking say"

Fr Sean Finnegan, in his Valle Adurni blog, tells us of some views he has come across in the blogosphere, which hint at a rather lofty attitude on the part of certain Anglo-Catholics to the style of worship in the average Catholic parish.

We Catholics know how awful things can be at times. We have lived through the experience of the post-Vatican II changes in the liturgy; and in many places we continue to encounter some pretty insufferable things. But bearing in mind all that we have endured since the 1960s, it would be very hard in addition to have to put up with having sticks poked at us by a few of those towards whom the Holy Father, and so many of us, entertain only the most fraternal and welcoming of thoughts.

The blogosphere encourages hastiness. Let us assume, then, that those writing in such a fashion have succumbed to the same temptation that seems to afflict so many users of the internet: of transmitting views on their computers which they would not dream of expressing either face to face or in a letter; and which, if they reflect more carefully, they would heartily repudiate. I have in mind here not only the writers to whom Fr Finnegan refers, but also to some “Roman” blog-commenters.

Let us follow this Anglicanorum Coetibus process day by day, with patience and joy. Our Lord has taught us to ask for our daily bread, for the strength and resources we need to journey through these times step by step. It may help to recall the words of the hymn we used to sing as children, which perhaps we should sing more often as adults:

Let me no wrong or idle word
Unthinking say;
Set Thou a seal upon my lips,
Just for today.

Monday 22 February 2010

Anglicanorum Coetibus: A Day of Prayer and Discernment

22nd February: The Feast of St Peter’s Chair. Anglicans who are trying to see their way forward in the beautiful light of Anglicanorum Coetibus – and who naturally have some trepidation – are holding this day as a day of prayer and discernment. I am sure many of us will wish to join our prayers with theirs.

I know this is a world-wide invitation and movement, but I thought I would post our lovely English prayer which is dear to so many:

Prayer for England

O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother, look down in mercy upon England thy Dowry, and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in thee.
By thee it was that Jesus, our Saviour and our hope, was given unto the world; and He has given thee to us, that we might hope still more.
Plead for us, thy children, whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the Cross, O sorrowful Mother.
Intercede for our separated brethren, that with us in the one true fold they may be united to the chief Shepherd, the Vicar of thy Son.
Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God, together with thee in our heavenly home. Amen.

Thursday 11 February 2010

The Disparagement of Reverence: The "Theology of Crumbs"

Via today’s post on Editor’s Briefing, the blog of the Catholic Herald’s editor, Luke Coppen, I have found a tremendous post entitled What Mine Eyes Have Seen! It is from Southern Orders, the blog of an American priest, Fr Allan J McDonald. The horrors he has seen relating to the distribution of Holy Communion ...... Well, I will leave you to read for yourselves, and shudder.

Tuesday 9 February 2010

Fr Hunwicke on the State of Things

Do please read this post on the blog of that splendid Anglo-Catholic priest, Fr Hunwicke, entitled Is This the End?

He writes powerfully, sweeping along from the views of the "Conservative" leader David Cameron, via the paucity of intellectual gifts in the present Anglican episcopate, the sad case from some years ago of Canon Bennett and the Crockford’s preface, and the tyrannical behaviour of liberals, to the light at the end of the tunnel – or is it the Light that shineth in the darkness?

May God bless him and all who are feeling their way forward, and may we help them with our words, our actions and above all with our prayers.

Monday 8 February 2010

A church of the Traditional Anglican Communion

Much to my surprise, I received an invitation, quite late last Friday evening, to attend the patronal festival of St Agatha’s church, in Portsmouth. It was to take place on the following day. So I set the alarm clock for 6 a.m., and off we went soon after 8 for the long journey from Gloucestershire to the South Coast.

I thought you might be interested to read about the visit, because St Agatha’s is one of those Anglo-Catholic parishes which have received with joy the Holy Father’s Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus.

It was originally a Church of England parish, but is now a parish of the Traditional Anglican Church, which is a member of the Traditional Anglican Communion. Here are the details of the warm welcome the TAC has given to the Apostolic Constitution. And here is the fascinating history of St Agatha’s.

The church was built toward the end of the 19th century, to serve the crowded slums that originally surrounded it. But its parish was destroyed when the great seaport was bombed in World War II. For some years its beauty was hidden while it served the Royal Navy as a storage depot. Now, after all its adventures, and after having had two-thirds of its Lady Chapel altar sliced away, it finds itself alone but very prominent, on an island in the midst of a modern road system near the city’s Cascades shopping centre; and it appears to have gained a new lease of life.

It is a large and rather extraordinary church, built in the style of an early Christian basilica. While many of its treasures were dispersed – and some were destroyed - during its wilderness years, much of its splendour remained; and since it has been brought back into use as a church many beautiful and interesting objects have been brought in to adorn it.

The celebration we attended took the form of a fine and dignified Anglo-Catholic Solemn High Mass and procession. There was also the censing of the statue of St Agatha, and of the many side-altars. For music we had an organ, an orchestra, and much hearty singing of hymns.

A delicious buffet lunch followed, which was much appreciated after our early start, and re-charged us for the journey home. We were extremely tired at the end of the day, but I am very glad indeed to have experienced the occasion.

I hope and pray that if all progresses well – please God - it will not be long before this fine parish, with all its faith and goodness and devotion, will be fully united with us in the one flock, in the fullness of the Church.

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Pope Benedict's Address: Mining the Nuggets of Gold

What a magnificent address by the Holy Father to the Bishops of England and Wales!

Much attention has been given – and rightly so, for it’s an absolute cracker – to the following passage:

“… see that they are equipped to hand on the faith to new generations comprehensively, accurately, and with a keen awareness that in so doing they are playing their part in the Church’s mission. In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate. It is the truth revealed through Scripture and Tradition and articulated by the Church’s Magisterium that sets us free.”

Also of great significance, I believe, are these earlier passages [with my impressions]:

“Your visit to Rome strengthens the bonds of communion between the Catholic community in your country and the Apostolic See, a communion that sustained your people’s faith for centuries, and today provides fresh energies for renewal and evangelization.”
[The Church in England and Wales cannot go it alone: our communion with Peter, willed by our Lord Jesus Himself, sustains our faith and energises us for the adventures ahead.]

"Even amid the pressures of a secular age, there are many signs of living faith and devotion among the Catholics of England and Wales.”
[I find it interesting that the Holy Father refers specifically to the Catholics, rather than the Church.]

Oh, how exciting! Now, I wonder what our Bishops’ response will be, in practical terms?