Monday, 2 August 2010

Cassocks and bells - summer miscellanea

An interesting and thoughtful piece here on the wearing of the cassock in public, something which, for the most part, a generation or so ago marked out the (suitably buttoned) Anglo-Catholic clergy in their parishes, although one even saw a few Sarum types flapping around in the breeze! Most of the priests I knew when I was growing up wore a cassock much of the time, one parish priest (highly respected and loved locally) even wore one when helping out behind the bar of his local pub.
I have a photo taken here at some point during the Second World War of one of my predecessors wearing his 39 button soutane sitting behind his desk in the Vicarage.
These days here it's mainly the (North American?) black suit and clerical collar, but in France, nothing at all except perhaps a small lapel cross on a jacket. Like the author, I think we are the poorer for that and the dramatic decline in the Church's confidence in her proclamation of the Gospel which seems to go with it..


An update on the situation in the French parish of Thiberville and the fate of its parish priest, Pere Michel.


Archbishop Vincent Nichols tells the truth about the intolerant social policy of the last Labour government. - The Sunday Telegraph interview is here - and is immediately attacked, presumably just for being a Catholic, by the fanatics of the National Secular Society who simply want religion - of any kind - to be driven from the public square. Here

A wonderful quote from the Bad Vestments blog. Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest:
"Even though I'm a Protestant, there's a lot to be said for Eucharistic Adoration. It's much better to sit there, keep your mouth shut and know that He is God rather than go through any ceremony in which giant puppets are in any way involved."

Another (seemingly) theologically challenged parson thinks Jesus was "relatively illiterate" and swore a lot. Here  Hmmmm! It almost competes in its combination of incongruity and banality with this

So, why can't some Anglican clerics learn, if in doubt, to keep their mouths firmly shut? Perhaps that's the problem; doubts are reserved for credal matters rather than the whole area of the infallibility of one's own opinions. There's a longer post on that one somewhere..... 


Recommended: Father Hunwicke has a typically erudite series of posts running on the subject of Apostolicae Curae.


A good post about the significance of church bells from Padre Tex.
"Bells are evangelical. They proclaim the Gospel of Christ throughout the area (they can actually be heard a mile or so away when hung properly). They sanctify the time and space that we live in, and so they are not popular with the secularist. They are an habitual voice of faith proclaimed. They speak out that there is a Christian church present, that the worship of God is taking place and as such they are perhaps some of the most cost efficient tools for "getting the word out" about one's community."

Even here with a single bell in our church tower, when new houses were built on the site of the old church school (the closure of which was a double tragedy both for parish and wider community) we had complaints about it being rung five minutes before church services and for the elevation during mass. I did say to those who complained that as we had been here for about 1300 years or so it would probably take us a while to get used to new close neighbours, but I think the irony was lost -presumably the same sort of people who move to the country and then make a huge fuss about "agricultural" smells.

At last (you say) something spiritual.
From Pastor in Valle:

"When I was a priest in the Oratory at Oxford, I was introduced to the custom of saying the De Profundis, at 10pm every evening, for the repose of the souls of deceased Oratorians. It is a custom I have tried to maintain since. Now I say the De Profundis when the church of St Mary in Shoreham strikes ten, both for the deceased of the Oratory, but now also for the deceased of my parish. A devotion I commend to you. "

That's it!  In a few days I have a ferry to catch, and no computer where we're going!

"This, then is our desert: to live facing despair, but not to consent. To trample it down under hope in the Cross. To wage war against despair unceasingly. That war is our wilderness. if we wage it courageously, we will find Christ at our side. If we cannot face it, we will never find him."
                                                                                          Thomas Merton OCSO


  1. The retreat of the Church from visible presence can be seen in so many ways. Priests who don't wear cassocks on the streets, nuns dressed in lay clothes wherein they have to address issues like makeup and fashion - both inimical to the religious spirit. Angelus bells and church bells calling the faithful to mass - all of these project the Church into the secular world. The Church needs to change this and soon.

  2. "... but in France, nothing at all."
    Oh dear,even worse than the C of E, then.

  3. Only worse in terms of visibility, perhaps!


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