Friday, April 29, 2011

Time to Disestablish the CofE?

Between ourselves; wasn't it all just a little vulgar?

I got irritated by the commentary all this talk about “middle-class Kate”, the Middleton's own half of somewhere, and “the young couple”, are actually middle-aged, he's balding and spreading.
The trees in the abbey gave a definite shout of the shopping centre and wasn't there just a little too much of Princess William of Wales' chest on display, for church, at least? The religion was more than a little bland, the CofE at its best, or do I mean its worst? Form over substance, I think.
I saw various Catholic bishops but no swamis, muftis, lamas or sheiks. Is it just my liberalism but why was there no ecumenical or "faith community" involvement? I couldn't help wondering whether, looking at the congregation or as various BBC commentators called them, from time to time, the "audience" would have been happier at a Registry Office celebration, maybe even the couple themselves, who hardly seem Gospel hungry, or perhaps it is time, as apparently various Anglicans seemed against the repeal of the Act of Settlement, to disestablish the CofE and replace it with some multi-faith, government appointed, big society, quango of accommodating clergypersons or faith-leaders, or just get in party planners, Pippa Middleton for example?

And what if the next Royal Wedding is a Royal Civil Partnership?

All right, I am being provocative, let us all say a Hail Mary for the Cambridges.

62 comments:

Dymphna said...

Good Lord, Father, what's gotten into you this morning?

IanW said...

Bah, humbug?

EuropeanCatholic said...

Dear Father,

I agree with your comments.

It is also to be regretted that they have been living together for many years. It is as if the marriage is an afterthought.

1569 Rising said...

What a long streak of misery!
I bet you had your comments prepared even before the couple entered the Abbey.
The only wrong note of the whole day was hit when I looked at your blog.
But, I should have known; your comments are in line with quite a lot of your postings.
Get a life, Father!

Andrew Leach said...

From ENS, redistributed via the Anglican Communion News Service: "The wedding ceremony also included a strong ecumenical and interfaith presence, with faith leaders from the Buddhist, Jain, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities in the United Kingdom, as well as representatives from the Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Greek Orthodox and Zoroastrian traditions."

Source article

Presumably either they weren't sitting where TV cameras could see them, or the BBC chose not to show them -- probably to save the commentators' embarrassment at having to identify them. The Archbishop of Westminster was shown several times but we were not told who he was.

As for disestablishment: if it's possible at all, is now the time to talk about it?! Would you rather have a monarch who must be involved in church, or one who could give it a wide berth or ridicule it? Amending the Act of Settlement (to permit those in line of succession to marry Catholics) is possible and preferable.

Tony Burgess said...

Yes, where were the swamis and muftis, why should they not take part?
I supect you will accused of negativity but it is an important question.

Peter Simpson said...

Are you going mad?

Ttony said...

I saw them - they were sat behind the three Cardinals.

Father, Alka Seltzer might be good for dyspepsia.

Fr Ray Blake said...

"Dyspepsia"
"Are you going mad?"

No, just asking the same questions Pusey and the Tractarians asked about the CofE's presentation of Christianity-lite and its relationship with State (now, perhaps its relationship with the media too).

Lucy said...

I'm guessing this is a joke! And I really hope middle age doesn't start at 28 - that would be depressing. I thought their prayer they composed was beautiful and sincere and her dress was VERY modest. I have sat in the queue for confession some saturdays and seen brides getting married in dresses that were strapless and sleeveless and held up only be a little luck, so I thought it was lovely and modest.

Neville said...

Quite agree Father, more about frocks and flowers than Christ.

pelerin said...

Amusing comments Father! Good points made. I did not intend to watch it but curiosity got the better of me and I succombed at least in part. It left me a bit 'empty' I must admit - there was no sense of worship from anyone and as for the trees - it turned the ancient abbey into a shopping mall as Fr Ray says.

As for the hats - it was a fashion show for all the ladies to compete with each other. However at least they did dress up for the occasion even if many were OTT. I noticed the absence of the ecumenical lot too - I imagined the leaders of all the different faiths would be represented. (There was a Rabbi there)However shouldn't we be pleased the only 'other' faiths were our own, including Archbishop Nicholls and Cardinal Cormac. I did spot a nun but she may have been Anglican.

All women would have loved the dress. A little low in front perhaps but at least she had her shoulders covered unlike so many young brides today.

It was certainly a spectacle and I do hope the happy couple enjoy a long and happy life together.

Richard Reeves said...

Anyone see the "Catholic" wedding on Channel 4's "My Big Gypsy Wedding" that took place in All Souls, Peterborough? It was in direct contrast to today's display of British understatement at its best.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Royal Wedding, the choice of hymns, the noble simplicity of the wedding gown worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, and the eloquent sermon preached by the Bishop of London. I thought it portrayed the Church of England in a very positive light. But who were the two nuns sat in the sanctuary? and why were they sat there?

Fr Ray Blake said...

The nuns are "chaplains" to the Abbey, they were present in the sanctuary during the Pope's visit.

PS, I rather liked the informality of leaving the Palace.

Michael Petek said...

Damian Thompson wrote this in the Daily Telegraph:

"It pains me to say it, but when it comes to religious pageantry, Catholics cannot hold a candle to the Church of England. The Anglican choral tradition is the finest in the world; its anthems perfectly capture the sentimental grandeur of great state occasions."

When you've said a Hail Mary for the royal couple, don't forget "Blessed Charles of Austria, pray for us."

Generally a cynic said...

In spite of myself I watched the wedding and was pleasantly surprised. Most of the 'Catholic' weddings I have attended have been far more irreligious. The words spoken before the wedding, the prayers, and the excellent sermon by the Bishop of London, spoke of the solemnity of marriage, its purposes, the sacredness of the vows made in the sight of God.

Marriage is under so much threat in this country. Most recent royal marriages have ended in divorce. Let us hope and pray that this marriage - which like Catholic marriages is also a sacrament - is a happy and lasting one.

Richard Duncan said...

In the words of David Cameron "Calm down dear". Really, Fr, you do yourself no favours with such sour and ungenerous comments

Victor said...

As much as I usually like your comments, father, I think here you are (at least partially) wrong. I bet the average wedding in the average catholic parish is (albeit on a smaller scale) not much more spiritual. Just imagine how much worse it could have been, and pray for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Michael Clifton said...

Dear Ray I must say I totally diagree with what you say about the wedding.I was not going to watch but watch I did and it was magnificent. Those wonderful words of the Book of Common Prayer for the ceremony make our version look 2nd rate. Like Damian it almost made you feel Anglican again !

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Oh Fr Ray! Shame on you!

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Oh..as for the "old" men who thought Catherine's dress was too revealing..as a mother of 8 daughters..(one recently married chastely & at age 24), I say keep your eyes under "custody!"

Just another mad Catholic said...

Not only is it time to diestablish the CofE but to do away in the monarchy altogether and Establish a Catholic Republic in its place where only Catholics can hold elected office.

Evelyn Steward, Mill Road, Cambridge said...

As a Cantabrigian I am full of pride for our new Duke and Duchess.
The ceremony was magnificent and appropriate for the times. I like how it immediately started with the exchange of vows. I thought the brother of the Duchess read the lesson with great skill and sincerity. The bishop's sermon went to the heart of Christian marriage as the centre and place for life to flourish. The Duchess even decided to be confirmed so that demonstrates her commitment to the Christian faith.
I can't wait for our new Duke and Duchess to visit us. As a Catholic, I certainly would not like to see the Church of England disestablished and Christianity even further ostracized. On occasions like this it rightly assumes its place, and reminds us all of out common Christian heritage.

Anagnostis said...

Forgive me Father - I love you dearly, but this post isn't an improvement on silence.

gemoftheocean said...

Okay, someone burnt your cornflakes this morning? That said: Kate looked smashing, and Harry should have been taken to the woodshed for not getting a good haircut. God alone knows who dressed Beatrice and Eugenie - but I think some village idiot's wives in Africa had their closets riffled. [And Charlie is *always* over-the-top. Just be thankful Phil didn't do anything strange.] Yes, William is balding, but that's what he gets for having his granddad's DNA. As for the trees...well, I had my doubts, but they seemed to have turned out okay on camera anyway. As for 'faith community involvement' Lord love a duck, would you really want someone from the nation of Islam twittering on too? Nice touch of Kate and William's own prayer. I expect they will be a good married couple as William doesn't seem to have the roving eye dear old dad did, and Kate is a level headed woman who doesn't have drama queen tendencies, and she showed a lot of class by not selling 'her story' to the tabloids several years back. Plus they seem well suited, quite unlike a different royal couple 30 years ago. Best wishes to them. [And really, Father, someone's been putting lucky charms magic mushrooms in your fruit loops!]

Paul Goings said...

How typical of a chaplain to the Italian Mission!

And never fear, Father. You'll get a real lesson in vulgarity on Saturday and Sunday, when the Roman Pontiff offers up the abomination of desolation in honor of the Koran-kissing Pope Wojtyla.

epsilon said...

Fr, I have to say you're completely wrong!! The dress was very modest. The couple come across as being genuinely committed to their vows. The singing was heavenly. Her 'naughty' brother read the Bible beautifully. And the Bishop of London spoke brilliantly about the meaning of marriage. For many now, the shopping malls are the only 'church' they know. If a few trees help them enter a church, all the better!

It is absolutely disgraceful for you, a Catholic priest, to be so mean-spirited! Instead, you should be encouraging your fellow priests to follow on from what the Bishop of London said about the sanctity of marriage. The commonness of living together before marriage didn't happen overnight. We as a society came to this and we are ALL to blame - including priests.

It is now time to take on board what the Bishop said and HELP young (or even middle-aged) people understand that every lifestyle can be turned around and rectified before God!

And let's hope that before long all Christians will understand the greatest gift we have in The Eucharist under the papacy of Peter in Rome.

As for the growth of other religions in the "West" - many people starved of any true spiritual guidance from Catholic priests and bishops turned instead to "Eastern" religions, not out of badness, but out of feeling lost. Please don't be the cause of more people turning away from true Christianity with your sharp tongue!!

Fr Barry Tomlinson said...

Sounds like sour grapes because it wasn't at Westminster Cathedral. Yes Jerusalem speaks of an ancient myth, but then so do you in the assumption and Immaculate Conception of the BVM.
I presume you don't object to Romans 12, the Bishop's sermon or the other 2 hymns. Plenty of Christian content there, and in the prayers.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I see you are a heretic Fr Tomlinson!

Richard Reeves said...

Yes, Father try to show some charity. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge extended gracious invitations to three Cardinals as well as the Archbishop of Westminster. As the Bishop of London said we should be supporting them not knocking them as they set out on married life together. Your posting is really in poor taste, and does not reflect the sentiments of the vast majority of catholics in the United Kingdom.

Michael Petek said...

Oh, Father Tomlinson!

The Immaculate Conception is no myth! Had Our Lady been touched by the slightest sin she would not have survived direct contact with the Holy Spirit when He overshadowed her as He had overshadowed the Tabernacle and Solomon's Temple.

The Assumption is a necessary consequence of the Immaculate Conception.

videomaker said...

Well, your post made me laugh - and the outraged comments even more so - but I think you're being a little unfair to the couple. Prince William is likely to be our future king. We should pray for the success of his marriage.

Much as I find the Church of England laughable, there wasn't much to find fault with today. The sermon - beginning with a quotation from St Catherine of Siena - was of a standard rarely encountered in English Catholic cathedrals.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Richard Reeves, I am being charitable, I have published your comment.

I think it very important to question the "vast majority".

nickbris said...

The next "Big Event" will probably be that Mad Womans funeral.

I expect they are already dusting off the Nelson gun carriage

Mickey said...

I really think the new Duchess of Cambridge is modest in attire compared to the common crowd in our day. I was especially happy with her wedding dress compared to the ones that I have seen in common Catholic weddings. She brought back the sleeves, which is very Grace Kelly like. Her dress indeed reminded me of Grace Kelly's wedding dress. If it is still said that the new Duchess is still immodest, she at least pulled back immodesty in wedding attires by at least 55 years. Brides to be will follow suit and try to imitate the Duchess's wedding gown. A new trend emerges, thanks to her choice. I would however just lift her neckline dip to at least 1-2 inches. Other than that, I am pleased.

At some points too, I was praying that Our Lord would grant unto to them grace's that they would not normally receive due to CofE's deficiency. In seeing Archbishop Nichols, I was hoping that in some subtle manner, he would sneak some blessings and graces to the Royal Couple through his hands, blessings and graces that they (Duke & Duchess) would not normally receive from an invalid Episcopacy. I prayed that the Lord would in some way fill in for what is lacking. Hail Mary for the Cambridges indeed.

Fr William R. Young said...

Dear Fr Ray, I watched the royal wedding and was impressed, and even moved at times. I agree with what I take to be your disappointment with much of the setting and background. I wonder if you felt it was all a bit "safe" and worthy? A wedding is always going to attract a wide range of guests, and we must not allow them to depress us. (I will forbear here to say whose frequent appearance before the gaze of the camera irritated me most.) One needs to see what is good, and rescue it from its context. (I was looking to see if Dr Sentamu of York was there, but it might have drawn too much attention to his words about how it is ok to test the milk before buying the cow.) In the end, I think the wedding established in the mind the idea of Christian marriage as a lifelong reality. The words of the BCP state this well, and Dr Chartres of London spoke clearly and to the point. Now, from our Catholic point of view, yes, wouldn't it have been wonderful if, instead of the reading, etc., the introit had been chanted and High Mass had been sung. It would have made the service a bit longer, but the slack could have been taken up from what came earlier. If the Ordinariate can bring this bit of the "patrimony" into the wider Church, then our marriage rites can be enriched. The fact that this wedding has reached so many people makes it an opportunity for evangelisation and catechesis.

Paul, Bedfordshire said...

I have to say my thoughts align with Fr Mildew rather than Fr Ray today and in all charity I think you have got this one wrong Fr Ray.

I did though rather naughtily enjoy the moment towards the end of the service when the cameras focused for a few seconds on the icon of Our Lady with a candle either side, during the singing of the national anthem.

God save the Queen, Our Lady Queen of Heaven!

Ralph Mitchel, Cambridge said...

I note you say you are being deliberately "provocative", I'm amused by the vehemence of some of the comments.

Are you really being serious, Father or just doing a Philip Neri singing a Miserere at a wedding?

Your right to question whether the CofE should be disestablished, no-one seems willing to discuss that.

Red Maria said...

Dear Father Ray,

Thankyou for your excellent post which - literally - made me laugh out loud.

It was an excellent corrective to all the nauseating gush which inevitably accompanies these events.

For myself, I just want to know how much the whole shebang cost me and if I may, draw attention to the fact that the Royals are still choosing their spouses from a very narrow, unrepresentative section of society.

I would have liked a larger bridal bouquet as well.

Saint Michael Come To Our Defense said...

Good on you Father Blake.

May the Mexican Martyrs and Saints continue to stand with you against the heretics and modernists of England. (have a look at two videos of one I have asked to help you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ooy632e900

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FY-L6maLqPU&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsKrKbkN2ek&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

Macho is a word that has no English translation, but that is what you are.

Continue to make our Mother proud of you, and we shall place you even more deeply in our oraciones y suplicas.

There is an old Mexican proverb that says “Con Tata Dios, nadien juege”

“Nobody jokes around with God”

He has a place called Hell that enforces His seriousness.

Viva Cristo Rey!

*

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

Hello Father Ray,

Thank you for your informed comments. It is so encouraging to know we still have good ROMAN CATHOLIC priests in England, who KNOW their Catholic faith and are unafraid to say so.

The long view (ie the eternal one) is the one that counts, many posters seem to disagree.

Prima lex, salus animorum.

Jimmy A said...

Uncharacteristically uncharitable Father I must say...

Sadie Vacantist said...

On Damian's blog it has been recorded that CMOC was caught on camera attempting a round of applause during the recessional (à la chez nous) but the "audience" failed to join in. An irony which, like the last 45 years of the Church's history, has passed our septugarian Cardinal by.

Neville said...

I was surprised that there was not any inter-faith involvement, considering the Grooms father's desire to be Defender of Faiths, in the plural.

Perhaps during the next reign we will have to question Anglican establishment.


I agree it was vulgar, not a touch as you suggest but downright vulgar but that is the nature of Royalty, always has been and always will be.

Bob Kovacs said...

Hopefully Anglicans and the Anglican clergy, who will be part of the Ordinariate, will bring some of that patrimony and pagentry with them. The singing, glorious vestments (Like what the Archbishop wore), dignified language in the Mass,etc... We need that BIG time in the Roman Catholic Ordinary Form!. But yeah I agree with you Father, even Kate's sister was wearing a rather tight gown. But that is 21'st century decor I guess. I wonder how many at the wedding actually have a Christian faith?. That's a better question. Don't judge a book by it's cover.

Anonymous said...

What, Paul Goings, Benedict XVI is going to offer an Anglican communion service??

P.S. Cardinal William Allen, I believe, quite rightly referred to it as "the chalice of demons"!

+ Gabriel von Eyb

Anonymous said...

Just Another Mad Catholic,

You're insane. The monarchical prinicple is inherent in every government, even that of the perpetually criminal US republic.

The idea that people are equal in any way other than their nature is ridiculous, hence, by dint of nature, the existence of all kinds of heirarchies, including political ones. Succession by primogenture makes more sense than the election of that class of typlically corrupt fool - the liberal democratic politician.

+ Wolsey

Anonymous said...

Father Barry Tomlinson,

Why do YOU believe in the unscriptural myths of private judgment and sola scriptura??


+ Wolsey

Just another mad Catholic said...

In a Republic you can kick out your ruler if happens to be a corrupt fool, to quote that wonderful doccument (The Declaration of Inapendence "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed" - note that last sentence.

The idea of a Divine Right of Kings is not only false but Blasphomous

I will not bow to any King but Christ and to no Queen but Mary.

To echo our French cousains "Vive Republique"

AndrewWS said...

Well, Father, from a Catholic point of view, I suppose it *was* a register office wedding ...

Bob K. said...

That's because most protestants, like Fr. Tomlinson, don't know anything of the teachings of the early church fathers, as well as the Church during the first millennium. Catholics and Orthodox (Eastern/Oriental) Christians do!. Hence why we have thousands of different protestant denominations.

Paul Goings said...

Dr von Eyb,

Better that than the formerly-condemned Divine Mercy devotion, which they'll appropriately offer in the Circus Maximus. (I wonder if anyone will sweep up the discarded condoms in advance?)

Crouchback said...

Well said Father I am with you all the way.

Fr David said...

At one time the Monarchy was dependant on the CofE for its survival, now more than ever it is the CofE which is dependant on the Monarchy.

It has little credibility except in so far as the the Head of State is also its Supreme Governor. Take that away and it falls apart into its diverse factions.

Ernie Skillen said...

Like so much Anglican liturgy there was a lot of fakery and passing off. Rowan's cope is a copy of a Pugin cope, the stalls, reredos, screen and "High Altar" are all 19th century, while the ghastly graven images/monuments properly reflect what the "Abbey" looked like for most of the time it has been in Anglican hands. The blessing of the ring is not found in the Prayer Book, nor the wrapping of the hands by the stole - why is that some Anglicans go around window shopping and grab what ever ritual suits their eye? Is it their "beauty of holiness" affectation at play? Richard Chartres is low church but often sports a chasuble - why? Perhaps the disobliging "Fr" Tomlinson (average congregation 9) could explain?

pelerin said...

There's a great conspiracy theory now mentioned on the Daily Mail website. Someone spotted that one of the nuns - now called the 'ninja nun' - was wearing black Reebok trainers. She is pictured sitting bolt upright next to the happy couple and concentrating hard. Rumour abounds that she (or he in drag) was a security agent poised ready to pounce if necessary. A great story.

Incidentally it looks as though the verger doing cartwheels was indeed true. It even featured on one of the French news channels last night!

Stephen D. said...

Just Another Mad Catholic,

As a fellow Catholic, I would encourage you to not so readily derive inspiration from a rallying cry of the French Revolution. If the world was devoid, past or present, of Christian monarchs and the ideal of Christian kingship, then would people have much of a frame of reference for understanding Christ as King and Mary as Queen? People can debate what constitutional mechanisms are necessary to guard against tyranny, but I think it was the Catholic writer Hilaire Belloc who said that bad kings being an argument against monarchy is like bad fathers being an argument against fatherhood.

pelerin said...

Some of the American blogs in particular seem to be intrigued with the two nuns sitting next to the happy couple. Suggestions for their identities seem to range from genuine nuns belonging to the staff of the Abbey to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in disguise! I do like the latter idea but I tend to go for the security guard for the tall one. The small one looks genuine though.

Just another mad Catholic said...

@Stephen D

Its the priniciple of temporal monarchies that I am opposed to, maybe if we lived in an elective monarchy who ACTUALLY took some part in governing the country I would be more sympathetic to the concept, however the winsors are just a waste of money as far as I'm concerned.

Stephen D. said...

Just Another Mad Catholic,

It would seem then that you and I find ourselves with more affinity the constitutional structure of the other's country. I'm an American and a resident of Washington, DC, but I prefer a structure where an hereditary monarchy (ideally Catholic) would be at the apex of national life.

RJ said...

Good choice of hymns (apart from the last one).
I noticed that Catherine was actually listening attentively to both the reading and the sermon - not looking bored and distrait - so I had the impression she was taking it in the right spirit.

Those who accuse you of being uncharitable are surely overlooking your sense of humour, Father.

Edward P. Walton said...

I do not think English Catholics were sad when Mary Tudor disestablished the Church of England.