Sunday, April 24, 2011

Thoughts on the Ordinariate.

 You may have noticed that I include a number of links to sites relating to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham under the joint patronage of Blessed Henry Newman, set up by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the 15th January for those Anglicans in England and  Wales wishing to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church as a group retaining aspects of the Anglican Patrimony in respect of the Apostolic Constitution 'Anglicanorum coetibus' issued by Pope Benedict XVI on 4th November 2009.

This is a comment I made on the Tunbridge Wells Ordinariate Blog some time ago that explains my interest.  I was an Anglican ordinand when I decided to swim the Tiber myself in 1969.

I’ve been following the whole Ordinariate journey fascinating and this blog particularly so, probably because I have a vicarious interest in St Barnabas, Tunbridge Wells as my mother attended the school with her brothers and sisters before the war and my grandmother and great grandparents were members of the congregation.
Anglo-catholic churches of this type tend to be hot houses of an antique “catholicism” that harks back to the Anglo-catholic Congress days of the 20′s and 30′s with a huge emphasis on what we do and what we wear when doing it. I don’t really believe that it is sustainable in the long term whether in or out of the Ordinariate.
I’m sure that many people making the move will find that being a Catholic is very different from being an Anglo-catholic because the goal posts have moved.  Your identity is not so marked by what you do as by a Catholic spirituality and a general consensus of what being a Catholic means rather than trying to gauge how far up the candle the celebrant is.  Some people will understand this and find it liberating, spiritually. Others won’t. Quite apart from anything else the Catholic congregational ethos is very different and some will find this welcoming and refreshing and others will prefer the AC ghetto.
I haven't really changed my opinions since I wrote this as I occasionally get a hint of "ordinariate arrogance" coming through on the blog.  I hope I am wrong but I think that there is a preference for an archaic Anglo-catholic liturgical approach that is manifested by the search for fiddle back High Mass sets......we will see!

Canada, the United States and Australia will also gain Ordinariates in due course but here, in South Africa, there is no such movement.  Possibly because we do not have the extremes of Anglo-catholicism in this country.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Christ is Risen..He is Risen Indeed!

Just back from the Easter Vigil at Blessed Sacrament Church, Malvern.  Again an overflow into the hall with the famous Big Screen.  Music as bad as ever with the addition of a young cantor who sung the Exsultet like a pop song!

5 adults baptised, another 15 received into the Catholic Church and roughly another 20 confirmed.  The adult baptisms provoked quite a lot of laughter especially as one young woman with long blond hair had to wring it out afterwards.  And then, to everyone's surprise a couple received into the Church took up the Offertory and were married on the spot!  They had obviously been together for a long time and it was a natural thing to do....everyone clapped.  We were all given an Easter Egg and a bottle of Holy Water on leaving the church.

There are 5 Masses tomorrow so the priest will probably need a holiday.

The Vigil, despite the sing-a-long music, was very traditional.  There was incense and nothing was left out of the liturgy.  Even the translation of the Tridentine Canon was used in its entirety.  The Lord's Prayer was sung to Khumbaya (ouch) but not even the most die-hard traditionalist could pretend it wasn't a fully Catholic service.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

Good Friday is a good time to start this blog.  Salvador Dali's "Christ of St John of the Cross" was painted in 1951 following a dream he had that was inspired by a drawing by St John of the Cross.

I went to the Holy Thursday Mass and the Good Friday Liturgy at Blessed Sacrament Church, Malvern, Johannesburg.  I am used to the  more formal Mass with plainsong or good polyphony at the Jesuit Church in Johannesburg, Holy Trinity, Braamfontein.

Malvern has everything that I should dislike.  Words flashed on a screen, guitars and an electric organ and excruciating "hymns" such as 'The Old Rugged Cross', 'Amazing Grace' and worse but there is a sincerity and devotion that is palpable.  The Church is obviously very popular as they had to hold two Good Friday Liturgies and at the second one, 3,00pm, the overflow had to pack into the hall with the liturgy on the Big Screen!

The congregation is really all sorts and conditions of men and women of all ages, colours and nationalities.  On Maundy Thursday we had some sing-a-long hymns in Portuguese as the Portuguese Community chaplain concelebrated with the parish priest, Fr Tony Daniels OMI.  I have always been a bit suspicious of the OMI (Oblates of Mary Immaculate) as I interviewed their Superior some years ago and when he said that if the Pope said it, it was good enough for him I wondered how much dissent the Order allowed!  Fr Tony has an entertaining sense of humour that the congregation obviously enjoys.  The average age is probably mid thirties with as many men as women.  Tomorrow is the finale of the Triduum  and it will be interesting to see how many are baptised and received into the Church.