Everything has changed: John the Baptist and Brexit

[What follows is purely personal and does not necessarily reflect the views of my Benedictine brethren.]

The name was crucial. St Luke’s gospel makes that clear. The expectation was that the son born of the aged Elizabeth and Zechariah would be named after his father, or at least a close kinsman. Yet the decision was for John, a novel name in his family and one that clearly stupefied the family and friends who had gathered for the baby’s circumcision.

Why does St Luke labour this trivial point so? The name John in itself means nothing special per se. Its significance lies in its symbolism. That the baby would not take his father’s name is a sign that this boy would not follow in the footsteps of his father; he would not be a temple priest, but a prophet. His vocation would not be to serve the old covenant but to herald the New Covenant. He was to be a voice crying in the wilderness of Israel pointing to the Lamb of God, who will be a light not only for Israel, but to enlighten also the Gentiles. The novel name is a symbol that Israel is about to embark on a novel course, to become the new Israel, the Church, the Body of Christ. Continue reading “Everything has changed: John the Baptist and Brexit”

Reluctant Referendum Reflections

Reluctant Referendum Reflections

Tomorrow’s British referendum will be best quickly done and dusted, one way or the other. Election campaigns tend to stoop occasionally to the gutter but it is not encouraged and usually quickly decried. I think the British like to the think of themselves as moderate, balanced and well-mannered when it comes to politics. Alas, the referendum has exposed deep veins of nastiness in British society. Maybe this exposure is a good thing in the long run, but for now it makes uncomfortable viewing. One of my cyber-interlocutors has suggested very politely that I have been hinting at my opinion without clearly stating it, suggesting that there is a certain duplicity in this. A fair call, so despite my love for the Australian practice of a 24-hour moratorium on political debate the media before a vote, here is an answer of sorts. Some will resent clergy giving their opinion, being “lectured to”, but why should we have less right than others to state our opinions and why we hold them?

Personally, the decision which way to vote has been a long time settling. Continue reading “Reluctant Referendum Reflections”

Orlando from a different angle

Orlando from a different angle

The massacre in an Orlando nightclub on 12 June has been dominating news in the USA, and even maintaining a high profile in England despite the recent assassination here of a member of Parliament. If you have been keeping up with some of the coverage you will know that debate is centring on two principal topics. Continue reading “Orlando from a different angle”

An English Benedictine Discovery

An English Benedictine Discovery

Recently the abbot stumbled across an image hitherto totally unknown to him. It has lain unrecognised (by us, at least) in the Bibliothèque National in Paris until they digitised the image. It is rather important for my community of St Edmund, or Douai Abbey. It is displayed at the very end of this post.

Continue reading “An English Benedictine Discovery”

Catholic Herald, 10 June 1966: Yes, but…

In this week’s Catholic Herald (which sadly now I must read in the hard copy as the trial period of free editions on the paper’s app has expired) has an interesting, and no doubt deliberately chosen, excerpt from the corresponding edition of 50 years ago. From memory it is on the page with Piers Paul Read’s column near the very back of the paper.

It refers to the then 18-month-old permission given to parishes in England and Wales to celebrate Mass versus populum, facing the people. It notes that only 10% of parishes had taken up this permission; at those 10% of parishes the change was said to be very popular with the people. Mmmm. Continue reading “Catholic Herald, 10 June 1966: Yes, but…”

Validity, an old chestnut

Validity, an old chestnut

Last night a friend, Br Tony Jukes SSS, posted a comment on a recent post here with a link to a Youtube video put up by the schismatic Holy Family Monastery in the USA. You can go to that post if you want to find the link to the video in question. Its title gives you all you need to now about its stance:  Why the New Mass and the New Rite of Ordination are Invalid.

After an awful night of hayfever–ruined sleep, I have managed to have a little look at that video this morning. Its narrator, Br Dimond, and his community, I stumbled upon some years back. I do not wish to doubt his sincerity, but I do doubt his theology and understanding of how the Church works.

Continue reading “Validity, an old chestnut”

Friday Penance: a dose of The Tablet (but sugared)

Friday is traditionally a day of penance for Christians. So in a frenzy of penitential excess I betook myself to the Letters pages of The Tablet. In never fails to give the psycho-emotional equivalent of a goodly number of strokes of the discipline. It did not fail today.

The various “Outrageds of Tunbridge Wells” have a remarkable knack for flogging dead horses, hoping against hope in advocating their own private Idahos as the model of the Church for all of us.

Continue reading “Friday Penance: a dose of The Tablet (but sugared)”