Friday, August 25, 2006

Care of the Community

Finding Sanctuary is a helpful little book by Fr Christopher Jamison, the Abbot of Worth Abbey. (I keep wanting to say Abbot of Fort Worth, but that wouldn't be right, or would it...?)

Of course, one of the big cruces of Benedictine theology is the importance of Community. Community is regarded as rather negatively in modern society. We want to be independent, have everything our own way, do what we want. Well, the horrors in the Middle East prove one thing, this sort of attitude is destructive. It pulls people apart.

I look around my own parish, and I do see a Community. It's usually a community of teenagers in baseball caps, hoodies and tracksuit bottoms in procession around the streets preaching gospels of abuse at the different and vulnerable, tearing apart public edifices and waging war against my own little parish church.

It's interesting that they hate vulnerability so much, that it actually drives their community to stick together. An individual is vulnerable, a pack is not. And now we've moved, from human behaviour into the behaviour of wolves or chimps. If the leader shows weakness, he is torn from his throne and replaced by a stronger. See a group of chimps tear apart a colobos monkey, and now compare with the actions of a mob. Maybe Quatermass and the Pit had it right all along.

These communites are generated by a lust for power over the members, and to be honest, they are very stable up to a point - vide the Roman Empire. but notice how there is no stability for the individual: they cannot rely on anyone but themselves for fear that their position in the Community will be usurped.

And now we see Our Lord's prescription for His followers:- take up the least positions in the society ruled by men. Although you are treated like garbage, no-one will covet your position. The lowest of the low can always trust each other, provided that they are not consumed with gaining power.

So we are faced with two positions: face the world as an individual, or become part of a fear and power-driven community. which would you choose.

No, there is a third. We look to each other, see the needs of others; search out the vulnerable and provide them with protection and stability. It's genius! Through commitment, we gain stability, trust, even peace of mind. We can get on with enjoying life knowing that we are safe. Of course, being human, there will be ructions, and plenty of ructions happen in religious communities. The thing is, if the Rule is obeyed correctly, sheer honesty about the ructions provides the means to solving them. It's only greed for control over others that stops us from living like this.

The Lord wasn't just a pretty face, now was He?

4 comments:

Marco Vervoorst said...

This has nothing to do with the entry but only a comment on your profile.

I doubt there are many Anglo-Papists left anywhere within the wider Anglican world. Some of the issues which were central to past APs are non-issues now. For example, how many parishes have Confessionals or offer the sacrament? I pray for the Holy Father daily at Mass but how many others do?? And we will not even enter the discussion on the traditional rites of the liturgy.

All the best. I have enjoyed reading your blog.

Warwickensis said...

Thank you, Father.

I find that I am the only person in my parish to have an ear to the Holy Father. Prayers for him are forthcoming daily in my personal regime, and this is true also from Elmore still, the Pope before the Archbishop - though this depends who is hebdomedary!

When I lead prayers at Mass, I certainly stick him at the top!

It's a lonely road for APs today.
Still, we're due for a upturn, aren't we?

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled across this, and you'd be interested to know more Anglo-Papists exist than you think, both in the CofE and in the US.

From my friends in FiF UK, many are becoming Anglo-Papists by sheer necessity and the theology is following.

Anyway, I'm not sure if Anglo-Papist is the best term to describe me (as I "pray for Benedict of Rome, for Bartholomew of Constantinople, for Rowan of Canterbury, and Jack our own bishop"...), but I suppose I am closer to this than a Prayer Book Catholic.

Love your blog!

- Andy (Diocese of Ft. Worth)

All Too Common

Warwickensis said...

However you describe yourself, it's very good to hear from you, Andy, and thank you for your kind words.

I hope that you do speak the truth about more APs, though as Fr Vervoorst says, there don't seem to be churches with confessionals, and although Anglicans are technically encouraged to receive the Sacrament of Confession, it is never advertised, at least not loudly, i.e. beyond the notice "confession heard by appointment" on the vicarage door.

Likewise the last appointed [sic] Anglican Subdeacon of the Church of England has just died. Although Readers fulfill the function of the Subdeacon at Mass, Anglo-Papalism would lean to ordaining more of these folk.

Personally, I feel very out of the loop as a Reader, but no one will ordain me subdeacon, which is something I'd dearly love.

Anglo-Papalism is more than a nod to the Pope. I regard him as my Pope and the head of my church, and consequently try as best as I can to follow the teaching of Traditional Catholicism.

Still, if we're on the up (please God) then we need to start acting.