Friday, 10 October 2008

Statues and Statutes

I am no fan of Barbara Pym, a recently departed author famous for her portrayal of the still world of the Anglo Catholic in the seventies. She depicted a safe, happy time of quiet Churches, bored Vicars, conniving neighbours and jolly pilgrimages to Rome. I am informed that it was in very few places ever thus. Nothing ever seems to happen in her books, which I have trawled through so you need not waste your time as I have mine and I cannot imagine what any of her characters would have done in this current situation. I am tempted to assume that they may have jumped ship, or accepted the un scriptural novelties forced upon a pliant, bloated Church by a hypodermic needle of reformers itself carrying disease. This weekend, it is my fervent prayer that we will become more of one heart and one mind in the detail and execution of our decisions. I have not the ability to be in London this weekend, hotels being what they are, but I hope that we will discover our inner strength which, I have always held, will, along with the grace of God, be our salvation.

It is with a sense of sadness and relief that I read the other week of the exhumation of Cardinal Newman's body. Rather than the lead casket they had assumed would have protected him, the simple wooden box had, along with its contents, completely perished. Nothing is left of that saintly man save his legacy and his soul, now joined to God fully once again. I am, as I have said before, utterly disinterested in anyone's genetic code, simply with how they live and how they interact with others. The legacy of Newman is not in rabid letters to the Times, or pressure groups ranting over his innermost thoughts, but he is truly a saint, if saint he be, for our times. He left people touched by love and closer to God, built only beautiful things to the glory of God and wasted not his life nor the resources he was given. His epitaph, as well as the one that we should all seek in these days of financial crisis and global warming, when we realise that the timebomb may just have started ticking, should be si monumentum requiris circum, and we can see in the humanity of the Church of God, an indelible fingerprint of love for God and affection for his fellow men. What more could we wish for? And it neatly confounds the ranters, for surely nobody can bring themselves to rant at an empty box!