Friday, April 29, 2011

And to answer a few questions

For those of you who think I was somewhat dispeptic in the last post, let me continue, by answering the questions so often posed in Anglican, and sometimes even Catholic weddings, originally posed by that most "disestablishment" of all English poets:

And did those feet in ancient time.
Walk upon England's mountains green: NO
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England's pleasant pastures seen! NO

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills? NO
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills? NO, never
Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!
However it did give me a degree of pleasure that many of those whose ancestors built and profited from those same dark Satanic Mills, and from the slave trade, and still profit those injustices, such as exploitation of the poor which Wm Blake was so against made the following public statement:
I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England's green & pleasant Land
Worship of God isn't play acting, it is deadly serious, if we don't mean it we shouldn't say it. The use of "Jerusalem" in an Chrisrian Church service is rediculous, fine at the Albert Hall by the W.I. or a Trade Union meeting or even the English Jacoine Club but by the establishment, in a C of E service?


Patrick Sheridan said...

Hmmm the words of Henry Plantagenet spring to mind:

''What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low born cleric!''

universal doctor said...

I tend to agree with you on this Fr.
Much as I wish the happy couple every blessing, the indications do seem to be that the Duchess of Cambridge has been less than fervent in her devotion to her faith up till now.

Evelyn Steward, Mill Road, Cambridge said...

Father, someone got out of bed the wrong side this morning! Clearly "Jerusalem" is widely-loved in England. It has been firmly fixed in generations of hymn books, including catholic hymnals, and has its rightful place in Divine worship. Surely the focus of the hymn is not on maintaining the ancient Glastonbury legend, but on our efforts to build the Kingdom of God again in our own times.
I think that the wedding ceremony was wonderful. Why not know all those ghastly catholic ceremonies that include such awful hymns as "Bind us together Lord".

Fr Ray Blake said...

It is simply not Christian!

Michael Petek said...

What is unchristian about Jerusalem? The Bible itself expresses a duality between the earthly Jerusalem whence the Christian mission began, and the heavenly Jerusalem where it leads.

Mike Cliffson said...

If we can't have gregorian , at least in english I don't want want a hymridden liturgy.
If we're to have hyms one at the end of mass is enough, alternating between faith of our fathers and that one for OUR lady:" when wicked men blaspheme thee, we praise and bless thy name"
better jerusalem , for all catholics don't sing it in church ,than many(most? all?) post vat 2 ymns.
I mean , it's about something. It's pretty good for a poor benighted prod to produce. hypocrytical to wish to work for god's kingdom on earth in our corner of it? Individualy when sung, even when sung by a perticular class, maybe, but in itself? A Better worldview to give money to Catholic charities that emasculate south american men ? What did the missionaries and monasteries early maryrs, the church do, but bring Zion? Glastonbury and St Alban are earliest chistianity known of in these Islands. Both were monasteries . The Joseph of Arimatea connection is very plausible. his physical presence, let alone Christ's, is another matter. OK.

Lucy said...

I absolutely agree that worship is deadly serious. One of my relatives had an anglican wedding a while ago - and while they are not really Christians in the sense of striving to live out a genuine faith in God, they came the closest they have come through the process of their wedding. They actually took it all quite seriously, for people who don't take faith seriously on a day to day basis. And I suppose there are people like me - who outwardly look like failures as observant Christians, and inwardly fail even more, yet are serious about God and want to please Him. Perhaps the duke and duchess are like that?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Wm Blake would have seen Westminster Abbey itself as a "dark Satanic Mill".

Michael Petek said...

Are you by any chance related to William Blake, Father?

IanW said...

I hesitate to observe to an intelligent cleric that Blake's poem references myth; that the strength of its reception history lies in its heartfelt encouragement of political and social reform; and that our royal family has shown some considerable committment to such developments. My hesitation arises not from a fear that you don't understand this, but from concern for the effects of dyspepsia on your blood pressure. Chill, Father.

gemoftheocean said...

Can't much blame them, it being a sort of patriotic occasion as well, and you have to admit the tune is hauntingly beautiful. However, I do think the use of this tune is perhaps better for a church service with the alternate verses '

Rubricarius said...

Jerusalem is a much loved hymn by generations of people loyal to this Realm.

We do not know whether Christ as child or young man actually stepped foot on these shores. Likewise we do not know that He did not.

It is sad to see so much vitriol and bitterness on what has been a happy day for the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, their families, their friends and for millions of people across the world.

I understand the Duchess was chrismated last week by the Bishop of London. Who knows what impetus that and the splendid wedding will have on the faith of the young couple - a strengthening one.

johnf said...

Father, you are being a bit curmudgeonly. Of course you are right, but it's a cracking tune.

I read somewhere that Blake when he talked of satanic mills, referred to the Churches.

I can't remember whether Archbishop Nicholls sang the hymn. The television cameras were busy concentrating on Messrs Elton John and David Furnish both singing lustily, all part of the establishment. A thought occurred. When the Anglican Church starts to routinely 'marry' gays, will they change the service to gloss over the prime aim as the begetting of children or will they bring in a mention surrogate mothers?

pelerin said...

I agree - Jerusalem should remain with the WI and not be sung in church. I remember reading somewhere that some vicars have disallowed it for weddings much to the annoyance of couples who wanted to sing it. It is a great tune but as Fr Ray has pointed out not exactly doctrinal.

Those who have praised the service may not be aware that while the bells were still ringing a verger did cartwheels down the nave of Westminster Abbey. Not very dignified in this ancient church after what was supposed to be a dignified occasion. (Or was it a spoof?)

Paul, Bedfordshire said...

It is really disappointing to see on display what in my opinion is a chippy republicanism at a time like this.

Leaving aside the question of how many of us at the age of 85 or 90 would be willing to undertake daily work of (often very boring) public duties, it is as absurd to claim that the royals live off us as it would be to claim that west end stars sponge of those who buy tickets to shows.

I suspect the revenue raised from tax on tourists, air travel, hotels, momentos etc. far exceeds the money spent by the government on the royal wedding, so actually we all benefit from it in lower taxes and the same almost certainly applies to the royal family in general.

People perhaps should be honest, I sense a mixture of reasoned objection to the hereditary prinicple and envy.

No human system of governance will ever be perfect because man is fallen. Whatever the faults of our system, it is one of the most benign systems out.

Those who think the hereditary principal is so offensive perhaps need to consider that Our Lord's claims to divinity ad Kingship rest on the Heriditary principle.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I am not a republican!

Michael Petek said...

Paul, our Lord's claim to kingship rests upon His divine nature, and He is - as Man - given all authority in heaven and on earth.

He is, however, King of Israel and All the Holy Land by an additional title which comes to Him from His ancestors.

The Antiphon of the Divine Office confirms that He sits on the throne of David and rules his kingdom for ever.

Hildebrand said...

Michael, I am not sure that interpretation of Christ's kingship is part of Holy Tradition.

Michael Petek said...

Hildebrand, I'm afraid it is.

Read Pope Pius XI's encyclical Quas Primas if you don't believe me. And those antiphons.

Loyal Catholic said...

Fr. Ray,

I struggle to see how one can derive any joy from poetry when one takes such a literal interpretation.

I certainly see the holy lamb of God in England all the time.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Do you know anything about Wm Blake? Have you read his works?

Richard said...

Father, didn't several Church Councils confirm the legend that Joseph of Arimathea visited Glastonbury, and founded a church there? As a result, the English bishops had precedence over the Italian ones at the councils (which is probably why we don't hear much about it these days).

If Holy Mother Church confirms that that part of the legend is true, is it absolutely wrong to believe the other part, that Jesus accompanied him on one of his earlier voyages here?

Mike Cliffson said...

I am very nearly certain you are wrong about the church at any official universal level CONFIRMING a physical visit of Joseph of Arimathea: when the Last Peter went to Santiago in Spain , for example , he was careful in his choice of words "where the memory of the apostle has always been venerated " etc etc., acepting the pious belief that James' own sidekicks had taken his head there, but neither affirming nor denying it.
Glastonbury IS one of the earliest centres of christianity in the islands known of: for times of persecution,the church's first nearly 3 whole centuries , on and off, it's a natural: getting in and out of a boggy area with a few good paths and many false ones , what could be better? (You're still stuck if some poor soul in the parish /ok early christian community, same difference, caves under torture or the threat of it: they lost their priests secend century, the sword seems a probable cause)
The rest is if if if .
Most of the apostles were strapped for the ready. Joseph of arimathea
in the Gospels is a man of means.Fact
. Our Lord's time with us is well into the Iron age, but bronze was still important.Eg for Roman plumbing fixtures, Jewish temple vessels, etc. Fact. To make bronze, you need copper, which the mediterranean area HAD plenty of, (cyprus etc,) and tin, which it didn't. Fact. The overland route of the nearest tin to the med is pricey, (one calculation is the sea cost then for the length of the med is at most 100km by land- no trains or lorries then!) so you've got cornish tin coming in, by sea, for a thousand years, and probably more like 2 thousand or more.Fact.(check out Phoenicians, tarshish ships, and the like, and read hornblower and masters and commanders to get the feel of seafaring)
Now the ifs start.
I have not got the reference, but one of the snippets coming out of the holy land over the last 50 yrs or so was some intriguing Textual? an inscription) reference to all/some J of A's boodle coming from metal?Bronze? Tin? factoring.
If so , note the IF, it being entirely reasonable that Christianity should have reached South west Britain along the comercial tin routes, as opposed to specific evangelizing as done by , eg, St Paul, the local christians would consider their provenance, like bishops their ecclestistic lineage , as , righly, coming FROM JoF A- without his necessarily ever stepping a foot outside palestine! The trouble with mines under roman occupation is that the legions thickly controlled strategic mineral wealth - so when the order goes out to nobble christians, as it repeatedly did, you're in the anthill already. Glastonbury as a place to carry on living the faith is as handy as you'll get, even if it wasn't already on the map.There's plenty early saints, marttyrs n miracles we wot not of, and that thorn bush is bit weirdo.
Unprovable, but why not?
A business trip took Jof A there? Well there are all sorts of reasons it might have. Or might not. I'm doubtful, but it's on the cards. People got to make a living.You're in tin, you're being squoze, you might well go to the source. St Joseph Mary's husband passed away, J of A is some sorta connection/relative and takes a teenage Jesus on a dangerous atlantic voyage to the mines? Pushing it, in my opinion, but how can you rule things out when diocletian was the last but not least intent on burning anything Christian he could lay hands on? I still suspect some apocryphal work would have some reference even so.
No denying it's a nice thought.

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