It just occurred to me that this blog is celebrating its fifth birthday. The first post Invitation was sent in on 17th January 2012 at a time when I was still running the English Catholic blog from which I desperately needed a break.
I had intended a more academic and liturgical angle, inviting guest authors or associates as I had on the English Catholic or before then as a contributor to The Anglo-Catholic. The blog gradually wandered from a purely liturgical theme to the idea of New Goliards, inspired by some of the odd wandering souls of the Middle Ages who were not always very respectful to the established Church or its clergy. This theme has remained together with my openness to all my guests who come in good will and sympathise with my unconventional approach to everything. The way God made me seems to have disposed me to rejecting much of the game-playing of society and small talk in order to be able to devote myself better to some way of life above this material and uncaring world. I write through my own experience, no one else’s. That is threatening to some, refreshing to others – take your pick.
I used to be something of a star in those heady days of Archbishop Hepworth’s tailor-made narratives about the future Ordinariate to each and every bishop and priest of his Church and from elsewhere. I wrote on The Anglo-Catholic, and was invited to talk to French traditionalist radio broadcasting stations and conferences in Versailles. Those days are over and I am left in peace as someone who doesn’t matter. I give my thoughts to those who appreciate them and live my life carrying my cross and being a very bad Christian.
Keep the lines of communication going. Many have given up, perhaps because their superiors told them to shut up and be Churches of Silence. Perhaps they were demolished by the trolls and the negative vibes coming over the ether, fibre-optics and wires. Perhaps they expected to be famous. I am far from being the oldest blogger around. There is John Beeler, my fellow “aspie” who loves classic cars and is finding his way around Catholic Christianity. Fr Hunwicke has been around for a long time since his Anglican days and there are many others. Some are Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans or living out in the sticks and doing their best to keep a life of prayer going with a more or less monastic ideal. Fr David Chislett, an Australian priest in the Church of England (the Forward in Faith part) runs Streams of the River, and has some lovely spiritual reflections.
I have discovered blogging as a form of priestly ministry which involves at least teaching and offering spiritual counsel when appropriate and asked for. Some of us bloggers try to usher in a new paradigm of Christianity in those places where the institutional Church has failed. The promise of Christ clearly applied to the Church as a sacramental body gathered by the Mystery of Christ, not necessarily to diocesan bureaucracies or crumbling and empty parish churches. Evangelism is not cheap advertising or gimmicks from extroverts, but something much deeper conveyed through spiritual intuition, profound words, knowledge of self and others. It is the preserve of those who have suffered. The Church of the future may well be very invisible, lived and shared in little “cells”, groups or individual persons armed with little more than a traditional monastic rule and a breviary or prayer book. Sometimes a priest can get out there and say Mass and give the Sacraments to those who draw near in faith and love. Much of the time, communion will be spiritual and over huge distances.
I’ll do my best to carry on and offer something fresh and different. I’ll need your prayers, and greatly appreciate the more tender-hearted of my readers and guests.
Felicitations! Having gratefully found things relating to Dr. Winch online longer ago, thanks to you, I have a sense of deeper continuity than solely the past five years! But I have certainly found delight and instruction here during that time (if that is not putting it too ‘merely’ Horatian)!
Many thanks for your kind words. I have been running a website from about 2004 with a page of articles, and joined The Anglo-Catholic in late 2009. The polemics around Anglicanorum coetibus absorbed too much of my energy. My experiment with the “Orthodox Blow-out Department” on this blog brought out many problems with Orthodoxy. Outside the USA, there is Fr Michael in England who is with ROCOR, but it seems to be even more marginal than the Continuing Anglican Churches. We need a new vision, something like Ray Winch’s aspiration (at least in its main lines if not the details) and an intellectual basis to our work. The Anglican Catholic Church is very compatible with that notion through this teaching from our Affirmation of St Louis:
I don’t see any prospect for anything more than friendly dialogue between our Church and some of the Orthodox, but I do believe we can provide a home to some of those who are disillusioned by the present record of Western Orthodoxy and its almost total unavailability in Europe.
Father, maintain your page!! I became a Catholic 5 years ago but now worship between a Baptist church and an Anglo Catholic church. Like you, I identify more as a Northern Catholic. I know the priest who received me into the Roman Catholic Church is pretty annoyed that I have changed the brand of Catholicism.
It must be hard for many people to find their stabilitas loci (the Benedictine notion of staying put spiritually). Modern churches tend to make this “settling down” impossible because it is said that we are supposed to be a “pilgrim church”! My sister became a Baptist when she got married and is a highly committed Christian. I once attended a service in her church. It was prayerful and the people were sincere. One person came over a little heavy with me with Baptist apologetics, and I changed the subject. They are not the “one true church” any more than any other.
I can’t advise you very much, because I don’t know anything about your life. In general terms, be yourself and find a church or community where you feel at ease, go to services and find your way without being in a hurry.