Thursday, May 04, 2017

On rejection from Walsingham

I must confess that old feelings about the CofE have come back to me, and they are not pleasant. It seems that one of my confreres in the ACC has been barred from saying Mass in the Guild of All Souls simply because we are not in communion with the CofE. This has come as a bolt out of the blue a fortnight before a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. Essentially, the administrators have decided only now to enforce a ban on those outside the communion of the CofE which has apparently been in place for five years. As far as I know, there has been no attempt at any dialogue with us, but rather a blanket and ignorant enforcement of a directive which hitherto had been passed over.

We must, of course, try to work rationally and use the principle of charity here, despite feelings of fury and indignation at this decision. We must remember that, at the present time, the CofE is in a "state of emergency" with the conservative group GAFCON seeking to plant missions in the country and put forward their alternative to the CofE in its thrall to the Liberal Agenda. In the light of this incursion, it makes sense for a party fearing invasion to pull up the drawbridge. We see this already in Society in which many people live in fear of the levels of immigration especially from countries where terrorists and insurgents are active and posing a threat to lives in the West.

We must remember that many of us left the CofE in order to continue an expression of the Christian unaffected by the Liberal Agenda. Our theology is different from that of the CofE, even if we share much of its history. Yet, in leaving the CofE, we have tried to do the decent thing and be honest about what we believe, nailing our colours to the mast and admitting that the impairment of communion between us is sufficiently severe as to form a schism. Of course, the CofE blame us for that schism, and we have good grounds to suggest that the blame is not with us. This has enabled the CofE to walk its way without our influence, and for us to walk our way which we believe wholeheartedly to be the Catholic Faith given to us by Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Nonetheless, there is an element within the CofE with which we in the ACC find much sympathy, and seek to support with our prayers even if we stand on opposite sides of the schism. Given that the Shrine in Walsingham was refounded by Fr Patten, a man of great Anglican Papalist tendencies, it makes sense that the Shrine itself is supported by Forward in Faith and the conservative Anglo-Catholics and even the remaining Anglican Papalists within the CofE. We had hoped that their influence might have swayed a degree of leniency when it comes to our celebration of the Mass in Walsingham.

The CofE boasts inclusivity, and yet excludes those who disagree with its theology. There is a certain logic there, but it is the logic of the liberals who see in any dissent from their thinking a threat to the free world. I agree, the ACC is a threat to liberal logic, but not to free thinking in its proper place - namely in the study of Philosophy rather than Theology. If their theology is truly threatened by our presence saying Mass in their buildings, then perhaps it suggests that they are like the Brexiteers and even Donald Trump in the expulsion of those whom they see to be so different as to be unacceptable.

Of course, I could be wrong here, and that there is a good reason for our rejection from Walsingham. I just hope that those who have made this decision would seek to engage in dialogue with us in the common desire to seek the Kingdom of God and the blessing of Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Yet, they must understand the hurt that their decision has caused us - a hurt which brought about our existence as a separate body in the first place. Given the presence of the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox Church, it is only fair that such a dialogue be entertained in the spirit of Oecumenism that the CofE seeks to champion. I leave it with them, and pray for a happy resolution to this whole, sorry affair.#

Jesu, mercy! Mary pray!

1 comment:

bishopmead said...

The Shrine authorities have long banned us from the Shrine's Altars. This latest act (albeit 5 years old - we are told) is by the Guild of All Souls who control the Guild's Chapel in the grounds of the Shrine. I am not surprised this has happened (and doesn't inconvenience me because I haven't been to Walsingham for years - because I prefer to go where we are welcome). But it does sadden me because I know it inconveniences and cause pain to a faithful priest and his people who have over the past 5 years been accorded the great kindness of the Chapel's altar.