Friday, 31 October 2014

Gerald Finzi: The Fall of the Leaf

Appropriate for today's exceptionally warm autumn weather in this part of the world: Finzi's elegy, The Fall of the Leaf - The London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Adrian Boult: violin: Rodney Friend

Sunday, 26 October 2014

The strange absence of Tolkien's Catholicism

Am I the only person to find it rather strange that BBC Radio 4's Sunday Worship broadcast this morning from Merton College, Oxford made no mention that Tolkien was a Catholic Christian? His [Roman] Catholic faith is the key, one would have thought, to any adequate understanding of anything he wrote.
How very strange ... or am I missing something?

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Clocks go back tonight

In Britain, tonight will mark the end of British Summer Time - the clocks go back an hour at 2 a.m..
So - we have the looming prospect of lighter mornings for a while, but darker evenings immediately. I have to confess, somewhat Margaret-like,  such is my dread at the fall of the leaf and the approach of the short and dark afternoons of winter I would gladly adopt what the europhobes seem now to refer to as 'Berlin time,' although 'Paris time' would do just as well ... and has somewhat different connotations ...
Roll on the 29th of March!

One can't help thinking, though, that the Welsh Bishops have missed a trick by not arguing that in the Principality clocks should never be turned back - only moved relentlessly forward - and, of course, that all timepieces should be resolutely progressive * (ideally having a facility to strike thirteen)  and be made in Wales .... no nasty, irregular, imported, chronometers here ...

“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

For 25th October

The Welsh folk song Suo Gân, sung by the Choir of King's College Cambridge directed by Stephen Cleobury, who made the arrangement.

Friday, 24 October 2014

How will they respond?

It will be interesting to see what response (if any) the Welsh Bench of Bishops will make to Credo Cymru's recent statement (October 8th) regarding the Code of Practice presented to the Governing Body in September. 
Rumours (or something more than rumours) that the bishops are divided on the issue are said to abound ....
The problem the bishops have, of course, is that the applied 'provisions' of the Code (if they can be said to be that) are completely at variance with their own assessment of the wider ecclesial context, both in the Anglican Communion  and the 'Church Catholic' itself:
"3. Since the Church in Wales continues to share the historic episcopate with other Churches, including other Churches of the Anglican Communion, the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches, which continue to ordain only men as priests or bishops, the Bench of Bishops acknowledges that this decision on ministry and gender is set within a broader process of discernment and reception within the Anglican Communion and the whole Church of God." 
[see the above link]
The Bench's unanimous decision (if that does remain the case - and there is significant reason to doubt that - the unanimity, at least) not to allow for episcopal oversight from a Bishop faithful to the Tradition - from within or outside the Province of Wales - negates all these fine sentiments and about a "broader process of discernment and reception within the Anglican Communion and the whole Church of God" and indeed makes them utterly meaningless. 
How can there be said to be, in any sense whatsoever,  an open process of 'discernment' in Wales when there is no provision - even after the first female episcopal consecration - for sacramental and episcopal care by bishops in the 'orthodox,' original, succession? 

One hopes, too, that our 'Fathers in God' will not be tempted to raise again in their defence, as they have in the past, both in public and private, any suggestion of that convenient and intentionally misleading canard of 'taint.' It is not a question of 'taint' (as has been repeated ad nauseam, but there's none so unteachable as those who don't wish to be taught) : the issue is one of faithfulness to the apostolic tradition - a complex matter both of the necessary sacramental / theological intention  and (to be somewhat irreverent) the essential 'mechanistic' process of hands on heads. 

We can stand on nothing else but the apostolic tradition...

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Response from Credo Cymru to Welsh bishops

For the moment, as we live in very interesting times, we post without comment this excellent response to the stone we were given by our fathers in God  instead of bread. 
It has, of course, been widely commented upon elsewhere....

Response from Credo Cymru to the Bishops' Code of Practice of September 2014

1. The Code enunciates principles, several of which are welcome to us and reflect some things we said in our submission. These state that the Bench wishes every member of the Church in Wales to feel valued and included in the life of the church, and for all legitimate varieties of churchmanship to flourish. Those who cannot accept that the ordination of women as bishops and priests are explicitly recognised as adhering to an acceptable interpretation of the Anglican heritage. However, the meagre nature of the concrete provision made comes then as an entire non sequitur; it simply does not achieve the apparently avowed end of enabling Traditionalists to flourish. There is a clear discontinuity between the initial principles and the actual provision.

2. We cannot accept that the Code as it stands is the last word on the matter. Fortunately the Code itself does not claim to be such. If it were, we would be unable to recommend that the members of Credo Cymru should continue their Christian life within the fellowship and structures of the Church in Wales. We would have sadly to express the conclusion that fully orthodox and catholic life could no longer be lived out under these circumstances, and that our members might well be advised to seek an alternative spiritual home within which to continue their Christian pilgrimage.

3. The Bench of Bishops of the Church in Wales should realise one fact, however unwelcome. If we are correct in believing that in the purpose of God the orders of bishop and priest ought not to be conferred on women (and, of course, we for our part recognise that that is a big 'if viewed from the bishops' perspective), then there is no bishop currently on the bench who is acting as an orthodox and catholic bishop should act. That is a large part of our problem. To offer any male bishop as a grudging sacramental stand-in for a female diocesan hardly meets our need to relate to a bishop whom we can recognise as being in the Great Tradition of the Church. It is not true to state, as the Presidential Address did, that we accept only bishops who happen to agree with our own views when, of course, it is the relationship to historic orthodoxy in which bishops stand, and not their 'views', which gives rise to the request for alternative episcopal oversight and care. It is quite improper to impute to a minority views which they do not hold and then to decline a request on the basis that those views are 'uncatholic'.

4. As presented, the Code of Practice is seriously inadequate for Traditionalists who, in conscience, are unable to accept the ministry of women as bishops. We can only conclude from this that the Bench of Bishops have a fundamental difficulty in understanding our theological position.

5. At the least, Traditionalist members of the Church in Wales are going to have to look to bishops outside the current bench as the true pastors of their souls and as their link with continuing apostolicity.

6. In view of the declining membership of the Church in Wales, perhaps we should all consider the real possibility that our Church currently stands under divine judgement, and that the unrelenting trend towards secular modernity in recent years has simply not benefitted us in any obvious way. These appear to us to have been years in which little serious attention has been given to the divine Word and the Tradition. To plunge on in the same unchecked direction might quite simply be disastrous.

8 October 2014

This rings a bell...

For various reasons, mainly personal, the blog has been silent for a while. For good or ill,  it is back in business from today ...

"...As usual, in the Cassandra zone of combined prophecy and powerlessness in which I live and move and have my being, I sometimes fall victim to the desire to pronounce on what should be done about current events, and set out manifestoes and prescriptions despite having no power or influence, and no means at all to insert my ideas into the sprockets, chains and cogwheels of power..." [here]

For different reasons and in different situations but ...nevertheless...