Friday 31 October 2014

So, Mr Turner

Turneresque? Or is Turner Creationesque?

It just needed a steam tug and the hulk of the Temeraire to make a perfect picture. This afternoon we went to look at the sea, after raiding the local shops This is going to be a busy weekend. The Ordinariate in Bournemouth has a 'bring and share' lunch party, so that we have time after Mass  to discuss some of the things which need decisions - such as how much we can send to Central Funds, and what we are to do about more hymn books, and how we will introduce the Ordinariate Use from Advent Sunday. That luncheon partly accounted for our shopping; the other event (the same day) is a dinner party at home for some Anglican friends.

The Friends of the Ordinariate are making available to us copies of the Ordinariate Use (as produced first for Warwick Street) and Mgr Newton has said he is happy for us to use this version. We need to have enough copies of both the Mass and the English Hymnal to enable us to invite friends from other churches to experience the new Use. There seems to be considerable interest among both Diocesan Catholics and Anglicans who want to see just how it works in practice. After Christmas our Bournemouth Mission will have to decide if and when we continue its use, and if we do, then how often.

But back to JMWT. Last year we revisited Petworth where some of the great works he painted there are still hung. Good to look out on the deer park and realise the great great grandparents of those deer are the ones Turner painted. More recently we went to Greenwich for the wonderful show "Turner and the Sea". People make such a fuss over the French Impressionists, but Turner outdid them all before any of them had laid brush to canvas. I'm rather sorry that the ancient Jews were not a sea-going race - there is far too little about the Oceans in the Psalms, and precious little in the whole Bible (despite Jonah). Others may lift up their eyes to the hills, but for me the Creator's supreme handiwork is the sea. Landscapes change, even mountains are eroded, but the tides have been going in and out ever since the land and the sea were first divided; and they will be doing so long after we are gone. 'When I consider your handiwork, the moon and the stars' - yes, and the seas and oceans too ... 'what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou visitest him?'

The sea is his and he made it, and his hands prepared the dry land: sunset over Dorset


Friday 24 October 2014

Margaret Laird

Pusey Wreathed in Smoke
Memory Lane today; a visit to Pusey House for the Requiem of dear Margaret Laird. She was a stalwart of the Catholic Group in Synod, and so highly regarded that she became Third Estates Commissioner. The Celebrant was the Principal, his predecessor, the Bishop of Fulham, was at the throne (you might discern a fifth unbleached candle hiding behind the crucifix on the Altar. And the House was filled with smoke, which won't make it any easier for you!) Bishop Geoffrey Rowell preached - his sermon, when it gets into print, will be well worth reading.

Mother Harriet of Clewer
On the stairs to the Library where the reception was held I came across two of the foundation stones of the Oxford Movement. When Queen Victoria visited the Community of St John the Baptist, Clewer, she asked to do so incognito - no fuss. So she was put out when some of the Sisters curtsied as she passed. When she remonstrated with Reverend Mother she was told "They are not curtseying to you; they are curtseying to me".Seeing her portrait you can well believe the truth of that story. You would not mess with Mother Harriet!

Dr Pusey

An altogether more avuncular figure was the Regius Professor of Hebrew, Dr Pusey: and
here he is too:

But it was the current leaders of the Anglo-Catholic rump who were here today; several of the clergy (like the Bishop of Fulham) former students in my time at St Stephen's House. Look carefully in the photographs and you might spot Sir Michael Colman (one-time First Estates Commissioner) together with several from Forward in Faith. There will be pictures of others  on Facebook: but most important of them all, of course, was John Laird, Margret's devoted husband of many years. They called on us in Lymington, and we had seen them both in Truro from time to time - for despite having a flat in Lambeth Palace and latterly the house of the Chaplain to the Salisburys at Hatfield, Margaret was a Cornishwoman above all. Now John is preparing for another move, this time to the College of St Barnabas in Lingfield. May he have a long and happy retirement there.

John Laird (rt) and friends

Sunday 19 October 2014

South Coast Religion

Parish Mass concluding
Hurry, hurry, hurry; the parish mass overran a trifle today (9.30 Mass concluded at 11am) and with our Head Server visiting his sister in Leicester-shire, one other server job-hunting and another unwell we were down to a team of two; but they coped manfully, set everything up and we were ready to go at 11.15.

Coffee, biscuits and chate
Fr Darryl had celebrated a Baptism during the Mass which is why things were longer than usual. He is also asking if we will do a Baptism during our Mass. I shall have to discover if this is possible for a mainstream Catholic family. If it is in Advent we will be using the Ordinariate's version of the Roman Mass, and will necessarily then use Holy Baptism from our Occasional Services .. "Dearly beloved, seeing that God willeth all men to be saved from the sinful nature which they inherit &c". So we shall see.

Billows and Beach Huts at Milford

After Mass, the usual bit of patrimony: coffee & biscuits and a good deal of chat. The weather remained fine all day, with a blustery sou'wester, so this afternoon I ventured down to the channel coast to get a few pictures; most of them will be on my facebook page, but here is one as an arrabon (no, I shan't spell it out; ask Father.) Charles (on the left in the picture above) spoke about Fr Simon Heans, a mutual friend. He was an Ordinand at St Stephen's House and is now a priest of the Ordinariate. Charles knew him when he lived in Beckenham. Small world

Saturday 11 October 2014


Sermon prepared (so what do YOU make of the guest without the wedding garment?) and notices printed,which gave us a little free time this afternoon for another visit to Exbury. The Rothschild house in the middle of the estate is a bit severe (and a very odd shape - 20th century re-working of a Georgian original which belonged to the Mitfords). The gardens though are magnificent.Jane buys us an annual ticket, in time for the Azaleas and Rhododendrons  - but in some ways I prefer to visit now - the trees are magnificent and you can see them without being distracted by all the flowering shrubs - and in any case these autumn colours are marvellous. Today we had the whole place almost to ourselves.

The acers are making a great show, but so are many other trees. This year too everything is fruiting well; so before long the pigs will be out in the forest, eating the acorns. The Verderers hope that this will stop too many ponies from becoming ill - their digestive systems do not work on acorns, and they can even die if they overdo it. At Exbury it was the beechmast which was crunching underfoot everywhere, and the maples were bright with their fruit.

Tomorrow we will be looking at the recently produced booklet of the Ordinariate Rite. We've decided to use it throughout Advent, so this production by the Friends of the Ordinariate will be very welcome - we simply have to determine tomorrow how many we might need. It is a very  handsome production, with rubrics properly done in red, and the music (Merbecke) set out very legibly. I think it will do a great deal to help commend the Rite to those who have misgivings about it. It was originally intended for the Ordinariate's London Church in Soho, but I think it will have a much wider use than just Our Lady of the Assumption & St Gregorys' in Soho.

There are so many more pictures of Exbury which I took today - but I think I will post the rest of them on Facebook rather than boring you with them here.

Cedars are a feature of Exbury

Sunday 5 October 2014

Safely Gathered In

Distinctive Patrimony, and working with long-time Catholics. That is the balance which Cardinal Vincent Nichols held out as an ideal whenhe addrssed the Ordinairate in Westminster. Not always easy to achieve, but this weekend gave us the perfect opportunity. The readings at Mass were about the Vineyard of the Lord, so it was a good time to celebrate that essentially Anglican occasion, Harvest Thanksgiving..

The Anglican Patrimony bit at St Thomas More in Iford came mostly in our hymns. We ploughed the fields and scattered, we joined the song of harvest home, we waved the golden corn, and we collected for the Christchurch Basics Bank.

Before all that, on Saturday evening several of us joined parishioners at their Harvest Supper. We hope this fulfilled some of the Cardinal's  advice to the Ordinairate a week ago, underlined by Monsignor Keith our Ordinary, that we should retain our identity, but also join with Diocesan Catholics whenever possible. Only so can we hope to overcome some of the misconceptions about the Ordinariate.

Good to have Fr Brian with us again today. He celebrated and preached at the ordinariate's Sunday Mass for the first time in quite a while. He is holding the fort in Christchurch while they are in an interregnum. How great it would be if many more Anglican priests were to seek Ordination in the Catholic Church - they would be well used, and everyone would appreciate their ministry. I never say Mass for a diocesan parish without several people stopping by the Sacristy after Mass to thank me. It is very moving.

Fr Darryl, Priest of the Ordinariate and Parish Priest at S Thomas More,  with his wife Lisa at the Supper

Thursday 2 October 2014

Christianity - a world view

Mgr Keith and Bishop Michael

Today priests of the Ordinariate met in St Patrick's Soho to hear Michael Nazir Ali - and what a tour de force it was. He began by reminding us of the rapid growth of the Christian Faith throughout the world over the past century. In Africa and East Asia that growth has been phenomenal. It is only in Western Europe that the churches are in decline.

He then went on to speak of world Islam, its diversity in different regions, and the reasons for its animosity towards particularly Israel and Christianity.

He talked enthusiastically of the challenge for the Catholic Church - to be more open to diversity (and the Ordinariate was a good sign in that direction) and to different expressions of faith coming from different ethnic and cultural situations. We threw all manner of questions at him, even challenging him to join us in the Ordinariate - and it was apparent that we have a great friend in the former Bishop of Rochester. He wants us to  reach out of our former Anglo-Catholic comfort zone and realise there are many evangelicals who are well disposed towards the Catholic Church and need us to encourage them.

a chance to meet
We chatted away over lunch - this is one of the best features of these occasional meetings - and then  heard from the Ordinary.He made a special plea for loyalty from all of us; loyalty to the Ordinariate ideal, for which all of us had made oaths on ordination, and without which many of us would not have been ordained at all in the Catholic Church. We should have left our 'only doing what I like' behind us. It is not every Group which will eventually use the Ordinariate Rite - but we should all give it at very least a decent trial run.

Cyril Wood
Mgr Andrew spoke briefly about  liturgy, our Communications wizard Catherine Utley said what a very good communicator we have in Mgr Keith, and how easy it is to work for him compared with some other clerics - and politicians. I think we suspected that already, but it was good to have our view endorsed by a media professional. Cyril Wood, our Treasurer, was present throughout and both he and Mgr Keith told us once more of their concern for a proper sick and retired fund to be built up.

For me one of the most important contributions of the day was from a priest who has been given a diocesan parish to run. It had been built up by
Mgr Broadhurst comes between the Ordinry and Fr Ed Tomlinson
clergy who were totally swept up in the post Vatican II euphoria - which had led them to misinterpret what the Council said so they supposed guitars and popular music, however banal or even explicitly anti-Christian, were of the essence of worship. He is having a hard time reminding his people that they are Catholics, and that they are not at liberty to ignore the Catechism or the Instructions on the Roman Rite. This resulted in Ed Tomlinson (do look at his blog) saying that he had dealt with a similar spirit of indiscipline by placing on the altar on his first Sunday the Missal,the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church and telling folk that this was what they would be getting in future. Those who chose to leave were surprised to receive a letter from Fr
Fr Keith Robinson communicates with
Catherine Utley
Ed congratulating them, saying they would have no difficulty in finding somewhere to their taste. He has stuck to his guns, and the parish has grown greatly because of it. It was good though to be reminded what considerable difficulties - real antipathy - some of our Priests receive. Most of us, though, are more fortunate and the 'cradle catholics' we minister to are appreciative of us and what we do for them.

We are all hugely grateful to our Ordinary for giving us these opportunities to meet and exchange views, and to listen to some outstanding theologians. Next time we meet, on February 12th 2015, it will be in Westminster with an opportunity to concelebrate with the Cardinal at the Cathedral's 5.30pm Mass. That day the Ordinaries from the USA and Australia will be with us so if you are a priest who might have been present today but had recently bought an Ox or married a wife maybe next time you will remove all obstacles and join us. It really is a very encouraging occasion.

An encouraging occasion