Saturday, 15 February 2014

"But at last came a King who had greed in his eyes ..."

"... Why can't you do as I did, and come with us - for fellowship?
 And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience ... and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me - for fellowship?"

There's a record here of a telling exchange between Joseph Shaw, the Chairman of the Latin Mass Society (and, as one would expect, a ' traditional Roman Catholic' - although possibly he would object to the qualifying adjective - nevertheless meant here to be descriptive of latinity of rite and not geographical presence) and Adrian Hilton aka 'Archbishop Cranmer' who Dr Shaw describes  uncontentiously as a "conservative but also rather establishment Anglican blogger,"

It's all very predictable, if entertaining, but as one of a vanishing few who were taught that words mean something, I am enough of an unrepentantly disobedient Anglo-Catholic to believe that the survival of catholicity within the 'ecclesia anglicana' has been despite the depredations of Tudor monarchs and the prescriptions of puritan parliaments and their willing ecclesiastical stooges and not because of them.

There are, of course, much better and more reasoned defences of 'Anglicanism' than that represented in the above rather one-sided exchange (it wouldn't be difficult - what about this as a half-way decent attempt?) but one can't help thinking that Dr Shaw has the better of the argument. 
And, of course, we don't have to search high and low (as it were) for the reason: whatever may have been or not been the case during the period of the English Reformation and subsequent heroic attempts over the centuries to escape from its deadening clutches, we have now sawn off the branch upon which (we thought?) we were sitting by our recent abandonment (actual or imminent) of apostolic order and our impending unconditional surrender to the cultural zeitgeist - the wholesale and uncritical embrace of innovation even if, in a curious perversion of thought and language, they are regarded as 'consonant with tradition.' 

Words mean something, not, as now thought in establishment circles, simply whatever we choose them to mean, and no monarch from the past, no 'representative parliament, no elected synod, nor, indeed, the accepted consensus of the contemporary world can alter that.

This is part of the Anglican Walsingham Pilgrim Hymn, familiar to many of us from youthit's admittedly not great verse, but it's fun and undoubtedly bears witness to a particular and not wholly discredited reading of history .... if now almost unbearably poignant as pointing to what might have been .... 

".....But at last came a King who had greed in his eyes
And he lusted for treasure with fraud and with lies.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

The order went forth; and with horror ’twas learned
That the Shrine was destroyed and the Image was burned.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

And here where God’s Mother had once been enthroned
The souls that stayed faithful ‘neath tyranny groaned.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

And this realm which had once been Our Lady’s own Dower
Had its Church now enslaved by the secular power.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

And so dark night fell on this glorious place
Where of all former glories there hardly was trace.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Yet a thin stream of pilgrims still walked the old way
And hearts longed to see this night turned into day.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Till at last, when full measure of penance was poured,
In her Shrine see the honour of Mary restored:
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Again ‘neath her Image the tapers shine fair,
In her children’s endeavours past wrongs to repair.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Again in her House her due honour is taught:
Her name is invoked, her fair graces besought: ..."
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

[This is the version I've always known (largely rewritten by Fr Colin Stephenson) but you can find Sir William Milner's original words here ] 

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