Saturday, May 17, 2014

So very Catholic

I have just come back from the LMS pilgrimage to West Grinstead, six of our men served and about twenty five of our parishioners had a very pleasant day out, beautiful music, a reverent Pontifical, a good sermon, lovely weather. It was good to meet the saintly Bishop Athanasius Schneider again but what really struck me was the number of  under forties that came and all the happy contented children. It might be that the older LMS members are dying off, if that is so then they are being replaced by younger people; young men and women, and young families. During the Mass, I think there was one very young child crying, the rest were contentedly praying, 

During the Conference in the afternoon after lunch whilst the Bishop was calling for stronger Eucharistic reverence  and most of the children were contentedly playing football, what really impressed was certainly the Bishop but more than that, was the Chairman of the LMS, sitting next to to the Bishop, with his youngest child gurgling on his knee..

It was just good to see: a dad with his child sitting next to a bishop with a flock, so very Catholic.


Parate Viam Domini said...

Father, thanks for this and pardon me for this long posting. I was heartened to read it and it was also a timely post as I’ve been prompted into quite a bit of deep thinking. In the course of my ‘extra-curricular’ activities, I sing with a small chamber choir somewhere in the north-west of England. Today we were booked to sing at an Anglican Cathedral for a Prayer Book Society (PBS) Sung Eucharist and Evensong.

Being a practising Catholic, I’ve never actually attended a BCP Eucharist before and my thoughts on being present there ranged from feeling a certain amount of discomfort through to an understanding and empathy for the small number of worshippers present.

My discomfort was twofold: in the first instance I thought on the life of St John Fisher and his martyr’s crown and secondly in listening to the local Bishop, who preached a sermon mostly based on the 39 articles on which the Anglican Communion was founded.

The Bishop is obviously very much Bible centred (in fact all the time he preached he did so with Bible in hand). In his sermon he stressed that the Anglican communion only had two sacraments, contrary to the modern Anglican view that there were seven. He also denied transubstantiation and quoted from the relevant article. He said that Christ’s sacrifice was “in the past – at that time” and that it “needed to happen only once”. In this he lauded Cranmer’s brilliance with words for the way he placed the word “there” to specifically signify Calvary on the day of Lord’s Death. Whereas the Bishop said that the Roman understanding of the Mass was that it was "the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross, made present repeatedly at every Mass and offered in an un-bloody manner".

The bishop also bemoaned the liturgical pick and mix style of modern day Anglicanism and he expressed his concern about that (would that some of his Catholic counterparts might put their heads above the parapet and say something similar!).

The Bishop made me think hard and I know that I am not an Anglican (not that I ever thought I was!). I may not be the ‘best’ Catholic in the world but I am Catholic in belief and understanding.

This aside, I felt some empathy towards those in attendance as it felt much like an Anglican version of an LMS event. EXCEPT for the fact that there were NO young people at all, there were NO young families. It seemed very much to me like it was the “Conservative Party at prayer”. It was dry and lacked any real joy and sadly, I fear it would be how NO Catholics might view the EF Mass. In fact some of the clergy who were attending stressed to some members of the Choir that “this was not representative of Anglican worship”, they seemed quite embarrassed about it. I found this sad because of course I could have been listening to a Catholic priest saying the very same about the EF Mass.

Whilst I did not agree with the Bishop I very much understood the reasons for holding this event. It is after all, the patrimony of Anglicanism,

So, after my day and reading an account of your day it spurs me on because at the risk of sounding triumphalist (which I sincerely do not mean to do) there are many younger families attracted to the Catholic Faith. Sadly, the Church, as a whole may shrink but there is definitely a future. We just need to keep the Faith!

umblepie said...

A very encouraging post Father, thank you. I was interested in the comment from 'Parate Viam Domini', as it reminded me that some 12 years ago, I was a member of a large choir, and was asked with a few other members, to sing at the Anglican funeral service of a recently deceased member. As a Catholic, I was unsure whether I was permitted to do this, and sought advice from a priest. The answer was that I was not permitted as this would constitute active participation in a non-Catholic service. At the time I complied with the priest's directions, but in the circumstances did feel rather sad.

M. Prodigal said...

How I would love to participate in a day like you have described, Father.

Paul Hellyer said...

Lovely post. But what is a BCP eucharist?

nickbris said...

Good day out Father but I really don't know why the readings,especially the Gospel have to be in Latin.

Hardly anybody these days is taught Latin and without the English translation on the sheet we are all lost.

Somebody said to me afterwards that he was deeply concerned about the story of people running off with the Body of Christ to perform Satanic rites,I tried to calm him down by explaining that the Host is only the Body of Christ to believers.

I've probably got it all wrong again as usual but it is all getting more complicated

Fr Ray Blake said...

Yes Nick, that is heresy!
It is the Body of Christ for all but most especially for God himself. St Paul says that those who and drink without recognising the Body, eat and drink their condemnation, hence it isn't about our recognition of it.
It does positive harm to those who receive Communion and do not recognise it for what it is.

Nicolas Bellord said...

A great day. The really stunning part was the sermon by Bishop Athanasius Schneider which really bowled me over. I would hesitate to try to summarise it but I do hope we can see it in writing in due course.

IanW said...

Book of Common Prayer.

Damask Rose said... very Catholic.

Tell that to Prof Tracey Rowland. Quintessential ad hominem attack.

Such a shame there isn't an alternative Society that one could join that would organise the Mass of Ages as part of a pilgrimage or other event.

Nicolas Bellord said...

But Nickbris the English translation was available at West Grinstead in the booklet which had the complete text of the Mass in English and Latin. In the old days people had missals with the English and Latin. Gradually one gets to understand the Latin which is pretty easy dog-latin or more correctly Late Latin quite unlike classical Latin.

kfca said...

@Damask Rose

I am sympathetic to your aspiration for an alternative Society for the organisation of events centred on the Traditional Liturgy.

Your comment has reminded me of the disgraceful display of manners employed in the attack on Dr Rowland, as well as the puerile scoffs against Michael Voris when he visited the UK and was most deserving of our hospitality, the obsession-driven campaign against some aged hubris-stricken heretic who writes for one of the christian-themed newspapers (of little consequence), and indeed the whole manner of the [hostile] take-over of the Society some years ago.

However, the LMS should not be judged on the basis of its incumbent committee members, however thuggishly some (and, to be fair to the others, I only know of the one), may behave at times, without any show of remorse.