Friday, January 05, 2018

Currents and Raisons

The first post of the New Year!

I fully expect my readership to drop again since I have left Facebook probably for good. There is only so much one can take of memes, cultural Marxism, voyeurism for the sake of mawkish sentimentality and infectious reactionary behaviour. This year, I really do want to address my tendency to open my mouth before I think. This needs to be done with a cool mind and a loving heart. I have a tendency for a loving mind and a cool heart.

This leads me to this blog. What is it for?

Thinking on my earlier post and the new raison d'etre of Fr Anthony's blog, I do see it as vitally important for the encouragement and education of all Christians.

I recently had a heated discussion with one of my brother clergy in the US about my "cavalier attitude" towards the prayer book. I explained why I don't use it but, what was difficult for him to understand is that I am not American. The 1928 Prayer Book is an alien species to me. The Venite is "wrong" and there are strange words in the Te Deum which don't make sense to me. For me, our Affirmation of St Louis must be read in the light of the collapse of the Established Church rather than the collapse of a member of its communion through the equally heretical Scottish Episcopal Church.

Nonetheless, the 1928 Prayer Book is a vital text which has preserved much that the 1662 does not. I do wish to reassure my American brothers and sisters that I have not the slightest disdain for their beloved and fundamental version of their Prayer Book - very much the opposite - but must ask that they read the Affirmation again and allow me to use the "Certain Variations Permitted" in order to be true to the Faith that I received here in Blighty AND to grasp their hand firmly across a wide expanse, rejoicing in our shared communion.

This is where I do need to educate myself. I always try to be engaged in some form of study, though child-rearing has cause rather a deceleration of my plans. On my to-do list is another read-through of the 1928 BCP with a view to getting a better sense of culture and the Spirit of St Louis. It will never be "in my blood" nor can I in conscience use it for my prayers, but it can be, perhaps, a text that I can use as a spiritual translation tool by which I can get a greater sense of solidarity with my brethren in "the Colonies".

That is my personal commitment for the year.

For my blogging intentions, I must focus on the encouragement and spiritual upkeep of my dear readers. I know I have only a few but I  do actually care about what they read. I have been far too negative, especially about the CofE, though I have just cause given the decisions of its government. I must leave them alone.

Given that faithful Christians now have to fight a battle against strong social opposition and ostracism which infects even ecclesial establishments, I wish to present myself as part of the Benedict Option that my Diocese seeks to promote. I wish it to be known that I offer myself as a form of paraclete for all who find themselves out of harmony with the secular mores, and if I possess any resource that is amenable to Traditional Catholic Christianity, then I humbly present it for the use of those who will be vilified for holding to that Traditional Catholic Christianity.

This will be my little blog's direction for the present. I hope that it will be an instrument of the love of God in bringing true hope back to the world. Given its reduction in readership following my departure from Facebook, I would be grateful if people would make others aware of this blog if they find any worth in it.


Fr Anthony said...

I think you experience life differently in that lovely Yorkshire countryside, perhaps not unlike here in Normandy. Something that taught me a stern lesson was being in the TAC at the time when Archbishop Hepworth was telling us that the water was warm. In reaction to all those people getting on the “coeti-bus”, we were struggling to define what it is to be an Anglican and what is our justification for saying “Hold your horses” as the bus driver was telling us “Bitte, einsteig” (Please get onboard). We don’t have to justify not joining any herd of people all wanting to do the “done thing” (converting to a “true church”).

You and I have different experience. For example, you went to the ACC from the Church of England. My own way was more tortuous, going via the Roman “true church” and becoming very unhappy, perhaps largely due to my own difficulties. It is natural to want to appropriate our “identity” and monopolise it to validate ourselves and protect ourselves from having to go back to more justifying and negotiating with the bullies. I begin to analyse things in these terms, because I know the pain of having to go outside the box to find our own way and make sense of our experience.

I don’t think we have to justify ourselves vis à vis the Prayer Book. As far as I am concerned, I am simply an English Catholic, pre-Reformation, and sharing many things with the French of before the Revolution. The blog seems to be our place for such reflection and education of others, because it is written in greater depth and eventually becomes a self-publishing book. We let people have it for free instead of letting a publisher sell it for money and slap a copyright on it. We in the ACC don’t all have this Romantic pre-reformation perspective on our Anglicanism as a kind of “English Gallicanism”, but we have largely let go of the Reformation and have never been influenced by the Counter-Reformation (though there were good things like St Philip’s Oratory and some great diocesan bishops like Francis of Sales). We in England have the Anglican Missal – I have Sarum in Latin and English – and no one minds what we use for the Office, though most of us prefer the Coverdale Psalms to any other English translation.

The problem with many Americans is that they lose sight of the existence of cultures and people outside their country. Though it is a melting-pot of all cultures, they can be incredibly parochial like English people in their little northern neighbourhoods. My own experience of life has made me one in a thousand – and I can be perceived as quite threatening to the “herd”.

We certainly need to move on away from the polemics and self-justification to the study of history and philosophy. I am too aware that our treasure, our faith, is superstitious bunk to nearly everyone else. Our churches should be razed to the ground or given to other religions or to cultural or business concerns. We should all be like Richard Dawkins and realise once and for all that in the beginning there was brute matter and we cease to exist when we die, that life is totally pointless and futile. I am working on studying scientific views of the primacy of consciousness over matter, because I believe that the notion of God can thus be revived and re-discovered in a totally new light. It is the seed from which our treasure can re-grow and be loved once again – and influence our lives in the family and society. Along with science, there is art and culture, which can vehicle the faith and the essentials of the Tradition. This vision is becoming ever clearer in my mind.

Fr Anthony said...

We have now to go forwards, not looking back at our unhappy times in the past, but to build on the good a brighter future. I have no children. You do. I think you are well placed to develop the Benedict Option idea and refine it for our side of the Atlantic Ocean, to bring that something new and luminous to people who are deeply sceptical, cynical and nihilistic. We won’t get anywhere with the “herd”. We need to rebuild not only the contemplative life, but the arts and crafts of the medieval world, music, poetry, literature, architecture, working with our hands. I think you have talents in this great vision, with a logical mind capable of delving into science and philosophy and putting them into the service of Christ.

Continued from previous comment (limit of number of characters):

I have my blog and you have yours. We need to be as distinct as we are as two different persons, but I see the vision building up in you and the desire to forsake what is destroying Christianity and orthodoxy. I don’t care about Facebook. I have clear limits within which I use it, but I am not tempted to use it as a “blog” – because it just doesn’t work that way. If people think that culture and writing will disappear because of Facebook and the smartphone, they are wrong and push themselves into a nihilistic world where no one reads or writes! We may not be able to use the Internet for much longer for serious work, and we have had the Internet for such a short time. I hope that when we lose it, we will have the ability to write books and articles and print them on paper.

Keep your courage and discernment, and may God bless you in your new calling as a priest.

William Tighe said...

"On my to-do list is another read-through of the 1928 BCP with a view to getting a better sense of culture and the Spirit of St Louis."

May I also recommend "The Scottish Communion Office 1764: With Introduction, History of the Office, Note and Appendices" by John Dowden, ed. H. A. Wilson (Oxford, 1922: Clarendon Press)? It discusses at length the rite which ("lowered" a bit) was the basis for the American BCP rites of 1789, 1892, and 1928.

Warwickensis said...

Thank you, Professor Tighe! That is much appreciated!