Bits & Bobs

I have just learned of the death of Fr Jean-Marie Charles-Roux, the mysterious Rosminian priest who said the old Mass at St Etheldreda’s, Ely Place. He has just died in Rome at the age of 99 years. I went to confession to him a couple of times in c. 1981-82, a most odd experience! I never knew what to make of him.

John Beeler pays homage to my Orthodox Blow-Out Department, “one of the best information clearinghouses on Eastern Orthodoxy for Westerners, completely free of Orthodox spin. Anybody considering converting should read it“.

I am very clear that I don’t encourage conversion to anything, not even natural gas. Some feel that I betray my Christian duty by not proselytising. We live in the midst of a world that is neither Christian nor anti-Christian, just itself. Christianity has done itself too much damage through human sin and stupidity, for which the price has to be paid. We can only carry on in this spirit of compunction as subtle signs of contradiction, constantly on the verge of dismissing it all wholesale as irrational bosh. Yet the tweak on the thread (cf. Chesterton and Evelyn Waugh) is always there, reminding us that God is above human sottise and legalism.

I generally leave the Blowout Department to its own devices. It was designed to take the polemics away from other posts for which on-topic comments would be preferred. I enjoy letting people have access to a site that is uncensored and cannot be censored by those with vested interests.

We seem to be leaving the August doldrums as more people return to their homes from their holidays. We returned to wet and windy weather from the highly unstable climate of Brittany (Il fait beau tous les jours, plusieurs fois par jour – It’s good weather every day, several times a day). They say that in England the summer is definitely over and the leaves on the trees will start changing and falling in September. Who knows? We can still get an Indian summer. Yet we might be facing a bitter winter! I’m still counting on taking the boat out to sea a few times before wintering.

We are in the Octave of the Assumption, and the Sarum Missal offers us sequences for each day of the Octave. Indeed, medieval English people had devotion to the Mother of God as did folk over here, especially in Brittany and Normandy. Through her we find our innocence and freshness, rest from the burden of our sins and worries. If most of what used to be good folk religion is gone, devotion to Our Lady remains in the churches and sanctuaries. It is a glimmer of light in the desolation of abandoned churches and the extermination of the Faith by Islam in the Middle-East. Ora pro nobis peccatoribus nunc et in hora mortis nostrae.

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2 Responses to Bits & Bobs

  1. Thanks, Father. You’re doing lots of Christians a service with that Department. I’ve quoted someone on an Anglican priest in Canada who, given Anglicanism’s more open conception of the true church, would welcome hurt Roman Catholics for spiritual and emotional solace, but would encourage them, for their spiritual and emotional healing, to eventually go home to their church of origin. Can you agree, at least some of the time? In other words, you seem to say that maybe it’s best that born Anglicans like you remain Anglican, etc. So maybe it’s better for born Roman Catholics, etc. Reminds me of C.S. Lewis in his “Letters to an American Lady”: he thought the people at the centers, the hearts, of their respective churches (not, he said, “the Romeward fringe” of his) are actually closer to God and to each other. Not an endorsement from me, except inasmuch as it encourages our people to stay in the long run, but food for thought.

    • You have a good question. I think that the most I would say to a “cradle” Roman Catholic would be to ask them to consider the possibility of returning to his or her Church of origin – or take a rest from it all and “get a life”. I have never suggested that alienated Roman Catholics should become Anglicans, either Canterbury or Continuing, but many of my French in-laws have been to my Mass without scruple. The average French Catholic is alienated by the establishment but likes the local priest (or doesn’t like him). In short, they link with anything which which they can relate, and they eschew the notion of “universal” Church. It is a gut reaction, not the reasoning of the theologian. I suppose I am not much different – I went to the ACC because I found a sympathetic Bishop in England and then found I agreed with the Church’s official line and doctrine. I only became a Christian in the first place through music and beauty, and only then did I read about the theology of everything and sought better understanding. I suppose it is like that for many people.

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