Monday, 27 January 2014
Am I not, or am I?
I recently discovered Opus Publicum by the blogger Modestinus. Modestinus is one of those difficult-to-understand types who seems to have converted from holy Orthodoxy to the Roman communion and makes somewhat of a fuss about it. He says that Liturgiae Causa is a fine source of liturgical information; and I daresay it is, though I hasten to add that none of that information comes from my own mind but rather the contribution of my readers whose expertise in matters liturgical far outstretches the reaches of my imagination. One thing he claims about me on his blog is that I have been a disaffected Anglo-Catholic in good standing with the Elves of Mirkwood. If by "disaffected Anglo-Catholic" he means lapsed Roman Catholic and by "Elves of Mirkwood" he means the Gnomes of Beleriand...no actually I prefer the Grey Elves under the lordship of Thingol...then he'd be closer to the truth. I was never an Anglo-Catholic. While for a brief period I attended a prominent Anglo-Catholic church in London I never once accepted the holy Sacrament there and my deference to the Church of England is, and was, merely a polite nod to the fact that it is the Church Established of this nation under the sovereignty and protection of Her Majesty The Queen, who is really the last Christian symbol of national life. The fact is that the Church of England is apostate from the Faith though I would say that this came about in the last century and not due to the schism of Henry VIII or the Elizabethan reform. I am a lapsed Roman Catholic in the sense that I have stopped attending Roman Catholic services. I suppose I am in the same (or a similar) boat to most people who would say that they are Roman Catholics. However my objections to the Roman Catholic faith (and hence my refusal to attend or countenance their religious rites) are more profound and thoughtful than: "yeah, but the pope says we can't use condoms." I expect in the eyes of the Roman church, however, I am something more dangerous than a lapsed Catholic; I am apostate from "the" faith because I openly reject many core Roman Catholic teachings, such as the infallibility and primacy of the pope, the Romish doctrine concerning purgatory (notice my choice of words), indulgences, the doctrine of the Eucharist, etc.
I do not currently practice any religion whatever. I left the Roman church three years ago, after being publicly expelled from a sacristy on account of being homosexual, and have so far shewn no demonstrable interest in joining any other church. I go to Westminster Abbey sometimes to hear Evensong and I shew solidarity with my friends by attending certain commemorations in London and elsewhere, such as the martyrdom of St Charles Stuart, but I am a long way away from even undertaking a new search for a new faith. I am simply not interested. You may ask wherefore I keep the blog going, then? With a title as compelling as liturgiae causa and hardly any discourse on liturgy, does this not present somewhat of a dichotomy? In all honesty, I've forgotten everything I once knew about liturgy (and that wasn't much). I understand its importance relative to the life of faith and one's sense of doctrinal right and wrong for, unlike the erroneous Papists, I haven't succumbed to the profound error wherein they reverse that antient maxim legem credendi lex statuat lex supplicandi (under the dominion of which came some of the most pernicious liturgical reforms of the 20th century). But I have come to the conclusion, after months of apathy (which, in turn, came after years of earnest, fruitless, research), that you will look in vain to the Sacred Liturgy for any answer; at least unto liturgy of a "Western" manifestation as celebrated...or at least carried out (as one would put a ready meal in the microwave)...by mainstream churches. That, in turn, is not an endorsement of the many weirdos out there who like to do-it-yourself at home. The Holy Ghost is hardly likely to send down the Pentecostal fire onto upside-down trestle tables in a garage for the benefit of a renegade with skeletons in his (or her; we must be politically correct) closet.
There has been a great schism in the West, a schism betwixt Liturgy and the People of God brought about by years of Papal-endorsed violence (under the guise of "reform"), neglect, tampering and the noticeable absence of the spirit of real liturgy; the spirit having gone out with each tradition legislated away by pope X, Y and Z. And it's something that cannot be undone by any means within the power or lifetime of churchmen. It's a grim reality to have to face but the truth is seldom comforting, and the truth is simply this: the Roman Liturgy, which enshrined the hallowed traditions of our Western fathers of old, is now only to be found in far-sundered books, or pages in manuscript, in places like the British Library or the writings of men like Dr John Wickham-Legg. Go to any church, even (or especially) to "traditionalist" churches (whether in good standing with Rome or not) and you will find only falsehood or, if you prefer, 1955 all over again. Go to the Ordinariates and you'll find something more recent than that! And that's not to mention the abominable hypocrisy so rife in such places. The more (to this world) unacceptable teachings of the Roman church, where they are enforced, provide the comfort and stability for people with emotional problems to have a sense of triumphalism, of being in a safe little clique, and these people don't give a damn about liturgy! Liturgy, to them is the suspicious by-product of some other pursuit and a mark of identification (the mark of the Beast?) rather than a channel of the love of God and a genuine connexion to the Fathers. Favour the 1962 liturgy and you're traditional; you're in the club. And you have to favour it under the guidelines of Summorum Pontificum! Viva il Papa, and all that! Anything else and you pose a threat, you have to be cut away like an unclean piece of flesh. All this makes me wonder upon what foundation the traditionalists build their sense of "tradition," if they always and everywhere must make recourse to a papal pronouncement of six years ago. I was in a pub adjacent to the Savoy Hotel once and someone suggested to me that on every subsequent Holyrood Day they ought to sing the Te Deum. I looked aghast at him though nobody understood why. What happens when pope Francis abrogates Summorum Pontificum, as (to me) seems highly likely? To what motu proprio or canon will they look then? Maybe they'll once again start crying out for "immemorial custom," and Quo Primum! Or worse, maybe they'll begin undermining the pope's authority (ever so subtly!) and take a quasi-sedevacantist position, saying that pope Francis doesn't have the authority to abrogate Summorum Pontificum and that its precepts still carry the weight of auctoritas and its decisions still bind on liturgical tradition? And so on and so forth in an endless cycle of contradictions and doublethink that have absolutely nothing to do with Christianity.
Well, you'll excuse me if I wish to have no association with such base, ignorant rabble. These people don't practice Christianity, they are the Pharisees of whom the Lord spoke, rendering lip service to the Scriptures whilst upholding various monstrous doctrines in the name of Tradition (of which they know absolutely nothing), and being so very apt to evil. So let them count their beads and visit their modern places of pilgrimage. I'm sure that on Doomsday, when the magnitude of their own ignorance is revealed to them, they'll find that they aren't that dissimilar to fanatics in other religions, like Islam. Woe unto them!
I'm sorry, I forgot to answer the question I posed earlier: why continue with this blog? Erm, well I suppose it just drowns out the ticking of the clock. People have long ceased to take much notice of me. Perhaps I keep it up in the hope that one day I'll get my enthusiasm back? Who knows.