Monday, 1 September 2008

New Month, New Labour.

An ostentatious, but effective, way of arriving on time for the match.

September is here and we are in the last third of the year. We have enjoyed the Summer (it occurred here last Saturday, between two and four o'clock in the afternoon), we have suffered some unpleasantness which in the end will damage the body of Christ, we have begun the process of firming our resolve and we are, deo volente, about to start opening better avenues of communication between each other. When I ran my own business, I always said that the most important key to success was everybody knowing what everybody else is doing all the time coupled with a knowledge of what the outcome of each day must be. The outcome of our brief but light filled day must be the furtherance of the Catholic Faith in the Church of England and a sure belief in our ability to stay and see that through. This is the opus dei as it occurs to us. To return to my analogy above, we know what God is doing, He must know what we are doing, and what we must do is what he tells us, which is to further the Catholic Faith for the salvation of souls, where it occurs to us, which is where we are. I have converted my life to that end and I will stake the remainder of my earthly life on doing just that, in the (apparently irritatingly) single minded way that those who know me know me for. But I can not do this alone and I know that I reflect the deep seated fear of many people who have communicated with me over the last few weeks when I say that there are an awful lot of people who want to give, who want to fight for the future, but they are lacking a cohesive front to join. People say different things in different places, some have been dismayed (some, to my great pain, have left the Church) , confused by the many mixed messages after the vote in York, in disarray, unsure of what to do.

I have been asked to continue blogging about the New Oxford Movement and I have replied that I will support this venture all I can, but it does not yet exist. It has the immediate potential to exist, for there are a lot of people ready to work for this end, but they need to be in the line of communication. A new movement, dedicated to the faith, a Faith of England Movement if you will, needs to be started from the grassroots and I am convinced now that the best way to do this is to use the existing structures we have, which is Forward in Faith, our papers and magazine, the website and a new blog (which seems to be happening) and most of all our goodwill. When you sell a business, you sell the building, contents and goodwill, which can be by far the most valuable thing. We have a huge amount of goodwill, the overriding joy of Saturday was the sheer happiness in the air, the feeling of 'we are all together, we are not isolated' which people rejoiced in. We were at our best, singing together and being together. A new Springtime came, in time for Autumn and we had cerebral food to store up for the Winter.

So, because if you have a blog you are allowed to say what you want on it and people are allowed to reply in the way they wish, here is what I think we need to do.

1. Stop any rivalry between ourselves. Work together for the Kingdom of God.
2. Use the current lines of communication we have in FinF to rally ourselves together, to keep different provinces informed as to what is going on.
3. Look to the future, expecting that, in the very long term, the day will be won. Write, preach, talk as though we are going, by the grace of God, to save the Church from certain reforming factors.
4. Keep reminding people that the introduction of Women Bishops is only one factor in the attack at the Catholicity of the Church. The gradual erosion of the Eucharist and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament is also a grave problem.
5. Realise that those who disagree with us are trying to follow God as they believe themselves to be encountering Him as well.

It seems to me that the Church may have just written the monumental Common Worship series in time to see it being abandoned by many Parishes who seek to move away from a (at least weekly) Eucharist. There is then a massive hole in the teaching of the Church - if we do not follow Christ's command to be one and break bread knowing he is there, what are we becoming? Narcissus looking into the mirror? Whom do we worship if we believe that we do better by disobeying the directives of God and what do we portray God as being if not the being in scriptures? Sometimes I want to throw my hands in the air and take up drinking for a living out of sheer frustration, but as Father Jones reminds us regularly on his blog, we are best when we work in the hard places, the light of truth is more visible in the darkness.

We are not, though, I think, to say 'pah' to all modernity. We do need to reinvent ourselves and to appeal to a whole new world, without losing any of the truth of the faith. This is the duty of the Church in every generation. Tutting at Greenbelt and cringing at the sound of guitars is not going to help. I am dragging myself out of that sort of behaviour and so are many others. We have inherited a degree of ease and flounce which is, suddenly, quite at odds with our influence and standing. Where are the new Churches? Where are the Anglo Catholic Church plants? The more we look at the scale of the problem and our own position post-York the more it become clear that the task is vast and that we have to work together, all the time, if we are to advance.