Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Rose Pink Vestments and Islamic Leaders.

An Episcopal chasuble.

Rose Lectern Fall.

Today I have been busy writing Sundays sermon which I shall post when it is finished and getting our pink out for this Sunday. Laetare and Gaudete Sundays are the only two Sundays in the year when it is permitted by the Western Church to wear Rose coloured vestments and we have a Rose Pink High Mass set from Haggerston in North London which was given to us by the community of Sisters there before they moved to a more enclosed Benedictine life in the countryside (where they have flourished, as I have said before, we are the opposite of the Roman Church in the Church of England, we have many Nuns but not so many Monks). I hope someone will be able to take a picture of the set 'in use' on Sunday, alas, it has not been as well looked after as it could have been and is somewhat faded, but never mind, we are unlikely to ever have the money for another set!
I have photographed the lectern fall in the All Souls Chapel which is from the set, (it also includes a cope and book cover, alongside everything else!) just behind is St Benedict, who comes from St Benedicts Ardwick, a great Anglo Catholic Shrine here in Manchester which closed a few years ago. It is fitting that he should find rest here, but a great shame that the Church ever closed. However, we are not alone there, the area it was in has worsened and worsened over the years, the Franciscans pulled out in the 1980's, leaving the great Gorton Monastery, built to hold two thousand at a time (and which had two High Masses and two Low Masses every Sunday to get them all in!) and the Basilica of Corpus Christi finally closed their doors this year. There were the three great Churches of Manchester, victims to urban reorganisation and, frankly, a drop in morals for which the Churches must shoulder some blame in not reacting to a developing crisis fast enough.
We are now left in a situation where un regulated Evangelical Churches are creeping in, often with an African leadership, often bringing elements of African Spirituality into the Country. Alas, they are not only bringing the positive elements which Archbishop Milingo picked up on when he was Archbishop of Lusaka before he seemed to go mad, but dangerous, un Christian and inhumane elements, including this teaching on 'Child Witches' which saw a body floating down the Thames this year, through the centre of Westminster. This teaching that there are children who need beating and killing to release the 'curse' from a family is, clearly, insane. Alas, it is also a money spinning racket to feed the bank accounts and spiralling egos of the 'Pastors' who claim to be able to exorcise the children for a fee. They diagnose them at no financial charge, but I wonder what the final cost for that most battered and ailing continent may be? When parents can kill their children with no remorse, with no threat of prosecution....what did Christ die for again? I seem to have forgotten. Here is a time for the Churches in Britain and America to forget Doctrinal differences (as the Early Church did, under the Saints), and unite before we are suffocated by this hateful brand of Christianity. In the end, it is us, by prayer, example and constancy in humility and service who will be left to pick up the pieces.
Anyhow, back to pink vestments. The two upper pictures are of a 19th Century French Chasuble that was given to me last year, it was lined in flesh coloured waxcloth which was falling apart. I had it restored and relined by a very kind lady and it is now in great condition. In a fluke chance, I even found a matching stole on Ebay, which I could not believe! It is not actually pink, but Episcopal cerise. I am told that when one was concecrated a Bishop, one had a Cerise Chasuble made to give to the Parish Church in which you were Baptised. This fashion never really spread and soon abated, but this Chasuble is just that, so there we are. It is also, I think, a suitable alternative to Rose for the two days a year when it can be worn, being rather darker and less, well, pink. However, I have another pink set which was made for me by a very kind person, so I have a choice.
I cannot help thinking that the Prime Minister of Iran would be a happier man and less likely to plunge the World into conflict if he had rose vestments to take out and look at from time to time. Instead, he seems to be spending his days writing this blog http://www.ahmadinejad.ir/ which is entirely lacking in Liturgical sensibilities. I do not think he will be a future guest contributor.