Thursday, 23 October 2008

Saints and Sinners.

Sustainable energy but no traditional Catholic teaching.

Wild mushrooms.

Two weeks tomorrow is the feast day of Saint Willibrord, who was born in Yorkshire, which is where these pictures were taken last week. He was known, we are told, for his joyfulness of character and his holiness of life, so he was probably best out of Yorkshire, else we would be getting out a red chasuble for tomorrow, rather than a white. He established the metropolitan see of Utrecht in the Netherlands and is best known to those of the Anglo Catholic bent for adverts which appear from time to time in New Directions advertising the Society of Saint Willibrord, which seeks to unite Old Catholics and us lot together. They have a festival Mass each year in London, which i am sure is a splendid occasion, with many Bishops. Utrecht is still home to the Old Catholic Church, a separate entity entirely to the Roman Catholic Church and now suddenly mis-named, as there is very little old about them, they seem to have utterly embraced the post Vatican II zeitgeist in all it's fullness. One of the most fascinating reads in the Anglican Communion is the Diocese in Europes Yearbook, which tells us of all the wild and wonderful bodies we are in and out of communion with as well as news from the chaplaincy in Turkey, Moscow, Costa Del Sol and Paris. I earnestly commend it to you.

It was an Archbishop of the Old Catholic Church who consecrated Arnold Harris Mathew as Bishop a hundred and fifty odd years ago, when he rather seemed to pull the wool over the good but slightly dotty Bishop's eyes concerning the number of his followers back in Blighty. The tradition of Wandering Bishops was then founded in this country, tending to their miniscule flocks but making up for what they might lack in validity with presentation. Tales are told of mitres the size of zeppelins and chasubles of great magnificence but, sadly, very rarely of any stability, sanity or congregations. We do not take well to new denominations in this country, for better or for worse. A fundamental misunderstanding of the injunction to 'feed my sheep' is usually at the heart of this, a belief that everyone else is wrong, that one must stand up against the forces of darkness (the rest of the world and the Church) and go it alone. I have never heard of a happy story coming from these people and I doubt I ever will. Split, schism and bitterness seem to be at the fore, otherwise, sadly, madness.

Enough of such things. With the recession looming what we really need is some sound advice, which I am glad to bring you HERE from Father Paul Morgan of the SSPX, who suggests the obvious ideas of staying at home and growing your own vegetables, as well as not buying new houses, simply plopping new bits on your existing one when you need more space. Superb. Will the economists never learn how simple the whole crisis is. Maybe newly Catholic (albeit the wrong type) Tony Blair can set the example we all need and take to tending rows of turnips and aubergine plants. Mind you, the whole of America is gripped with election fever while the rest of the world wonder, once the real Obama or McCain emerge from the carefully crafted voter friendly models they have been exhibiting, whether the world will be plunged into war or recession, so there may be something to be said for encouraging traditional Catholic families in areas with fertile soil. Maybe they can become a new cash crop?

In the real world, of course, we wait with eager anticipation for the first Beaujolais Nouveau a month from now. It is a wonderful thing, Beaujolais Nouveau as well as all their other wines, even unto the Cotes Chalonnlais and my favourite Mercurey, temperamental, with no lasting power, but good when fresh, like so many transient things of this world. I spent many happy times in the Beaujolais Club in London and hope to do so again at some time in the future. May Saint Willibrord pray for us.