Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Two years later...

Well, well, Liturgiae Causa is over two years old. I had quite forgotten, having lost all interest in Liturgy, and polemics. I have had just over 93,000 ''hits,'' according to my sitemeter, and 47 followers, which is more than I had expected. I am genuinely flattered that people think I have anything worthwhile to say. Presently, I think I have nothing to say. Maybe, for example, the fact that the Authorized Version is not an authorized translation for the Ordinariate, that hosts of people see nothing wrong with celebrating St Philip Neri instead of the Pentecost Vigil, and that the papacy still exists actually all make perfect sense, and I am just mistaken, or maybe Christianity is a load of rubbish? But no...I had two posts in preparation, which I have since abandoned. One, about C.S (''Patrimony'') Lewis, containing a few choice quotes by Lewis about the Roman church from his book on prayer Letters to Malcolm, and Tolkien's unpublished The Ulsterior Motive; the other about halal meat in the British food industry, in which I wrote unashamedly that I think Islam is one of the great evils of this world; but it can all go hang. Religion undoubtedly brings out the worst in people.

I have lost my faith, and I am not interested in Liturgy anymore.


  1. Or, you are where you should, a place any adult who takes seriously the big issues needs to pass through at some point.

  2. Please don't lose heart. I'll write to you privately, but I have a big translating job for the moment. Liberal Christianity seems to be the way to go...

  3. Or, you are just where you need to be, a place every serious Christian must pass through at least once. Fret not.

  4. This is lamentable indeed. But at the risk of sounding uncharitable I cannot say I am shocked. Having been a long time reader of this 'blog, I have seen this situation on the horizon for some time. An almost pathological obsession with the rubrical minutia of Liturgy and its ossification into a set of absolute codes of practice which neither evolve nor develop only leads one into absolute frustration and, as we see here, apostasy. The man who goes in search of Liturgical perfection is a fool, there is no such thing. The Church is made up of sinful, imperfect men and has never been and will never be perfect in the human sense. Extreme orthopraxy with a complete disregard for God's love, mercy and the doctrines of the Faith can only lead down a very dark road indeed, as, I'm afraid, this 'blog, brilliant though it has been in many ways, has demonstrated.

    1. "The dogs of God"? Rottweiler, poodle or just some nasty creature that just needs to be taken to the pound and put down?

      This sanctimonious cant is so typical of "conservative Catholics" with all their certitudes. Many of us are not obsessed with details of the liturgy, but are unable to relate to the Church or find one's place in it. Shame on those who write this way!

      I think it would do Patrick some good to live as an atheist or an agnostic for a while, until he can encounter God in a new experience of beauty and wonder. For as long as religious men behave as minions of totalitarianism and the great steamroller, men like Patrick - and I too - will be alienated from the Church. There is much more to life than the Church, whether it is expressed in liturgy or moralising bullying.

      I see something of Sebastian Flyte from Waugh's 'Brideshead Revisited' in our friend. He needs his freedom, even if it is for his detriment. He must find his own way. I would encourage him to take up sailing or music, or anything that interests him - and develop his life following new avenues, mapping new courses in unknown seas and redrawing the charts.

    2. Father, I fear you have misunderstood the spirit of my post. Of course, as a Roman Catholic I often find it difficult to see things from "outside the walls" as it were. I cannot fathom actively wanting to remain outside the Roman Church and cut off from the authority of the Successor or Peter. However, I hold Anglo-Catholicism in very high regard, indeed I have only recently finished reading Colin Stephenson's bigraphy of Hope Patten's work at Walsingham. I admire the goodly Christian spirit Anglo-Catholics so often demonstrate and although I find the phenomenon slightly baffling I don't consider Anglo-Catholics as merely "Protestant oddballs playing dress up" as a Priest friend of mine recently remarked. As to Patrick, I am not unsympathetic to his crisis of faith, but I cannot help but feel an unhealthy fixation on what is Liturgically "correct" has not helped the situation. Liturgy is a means, not an end in itself.

    3. Thank you, Domini Canes, for your sympathetic reply. I had most of my theological studies with the Dominicans at the Angelicum in Rome and at Fribourg – and I hold that Order in great esteem.

      It is one thing to want to be cut off from communion with Rome, but many of us live in places and situations that provide us with no “interface”. It is a little like trying to communicate with a computer without a keyboard or a mouse. I thank you for your tolerant attitude in that we Anglicans or "shipwrecked" continuing Anglicans are not children "playing house" but people seriously engaging in our faith, Christian commitment and vocation, even if we seem to be at the end of the rope.

      I have been around long enough to know that crises of faith are not formal apostasy, an all-too-often abused word that would be properly applied to someone becoming publicly and vehemently hostile to Christians for example or turning to devil worship. Having a time-out is often a safety valve.

      Without wanting to be indiscreet, Patrick has a condition that makes details and order in narrow fields of life of greater importance to him than most of us. We all have to carry crosses, and so does he. Were there greater pluralism and pluriformity of liturgical usage in the Church, many of these matters would not be a problem. Liturgy is a means, not an end, but even western intellectuals and aesthetes need inculturation, and not only Indians from a Hindu background or joyful and demonstrative Africans.

  5. I for one hope that you will finish writing and publish the two posts to which you refer.

  6. I for one hope that you will finish writing and then publish the two draft posts to which you refer.

    Do remember the old adage: the hour is darkest before the dawn!

  7. Dear Patrick,
    you write: '' Religion undoubtedly brings out the worst in people.''
    One can only agree in part with the above statement. I should add the word ''misuse of'' to the beginning of the statement ...
    As i see it, religion, like most things, is like a knife: it can be used to feed onself with, or it can be used to kill. Because we on earth are imperfect beings, we are prone to obessissions and exagerations, and often end up using even religion as a means to kill ourselves or others with, both spirutally and physically.

    Furthermmore, anything that is turned into an idol will end up frustrating us, because we demand more from it than it is meant to be, to mean or to give. Even the Holy Liturgy. Anything turned into a tool to beat ouselves or others with, will either ruin us, or failing that, or bore us to death in the end.
    I have seen many others change, seemingly quite unexpectedly, from superfanatical religion addicts into atheists or agnostics.
    Becasue the turned religion into a Cross to heavy for any mortal to bear.

    You write: ''I have lost my faith, and I am not interested in Liturgy anymore.''

    Living and life-giving mature faith is neither obsessive, not fanatical, nor pretensious, nor violent; but rather, mature faith is calm, gentle, admitting to not knowing all things, and realises that it must be secondary to love. Only God knows all, understands all, judges all, for He alone can neither decieve nor be deceived. We humans are all very fallible, and our faith, it seems to me, thrives only so long as we recognise the unlimited possibilities of God and our own limited knowledge and understanding of things divine.

    TO lose faith for a time is perhaps a good thing. It can give needed spiritual rest. Someone once said that what Northern Ireland needs is ten years of atheism to sort its problems out. I don't presume to know what is good for northern Ireland, but i have always found this remedy of temporary suspension of faith an interesting possibility in abstracto!

    Probably Stephen is right: ''you are just where you need to be, a place every serious Christian must pass through at least once. Fret not.''

    In my case it is not so much myslef, as fellow religionists - and Ecclesiastical authorities -who often nearly drive me to wishing that i could ''lose my faith''. But so far it hasn't happend. I have learnt to take it all ''cum grano salis'', and, if i wish to stay sane, i must foster other interests alongside my involvment in religion and Liturgy. These other interests keep religion in the proper persepcxtive. Religion is for me a necessary part of life, my connexion to the unseen world of God, His Angels and Saints and my departed loved ones. But as a fallible, limited, fixation-prone human being, i must balance my supernatural faith with the things of this life that interest me, in order to keep my faith from turning against me.

    In medio stat virtus. When i was younger i thought that this saying was just a way for mediocre people to justify not giving themselves totally to a cause: now i realise that this saying is essential for me and for most of us if we wish to live sane, serene lives which will keep us connected to God, to ourself, and to others.
    Forgive my going on like this!
    Good luck, Patrici! Be kind to yourself!

  8. My guess is that you haven't really "lost your faith" - just all appetite for churchy talk. That's a good thing, and I'm very glad to learn of it. Boredom and disgust with churchy talk demonstrates that you're not - contrary to the opinion of many of your critics - merely a religious hobbyist.

    You had something important to say, and you said it. Job done. Move on (unless you want to end up in the kind of horrible unending Groundhog Day that Tradism has become. Nobody with an inkling of discernment could abide that). God bless you, Patrick and bon chance.

  9. Praying for you if that's ok..

  10. Do good actions and act as if you believe and love.
    Just keep on doing the next right thing regardless of fear, doubt, pain or lack of sentiment.

    If you sin, say sorry, start again, do the next right thing, on and on.

    Let your will choose good.

    Wait patiently for the Lord, despite impatience.
    May God bless you and Our Lady of Fatima surround you with her mantle of protection and love.

  11. Ah, go ahead, say what you want! Some of us are listening and will probably agree with you. Please don't be shy....

  12. My prayers are with you. And though I can add very little to Albertus' beautifully written wisdom, I will add this:

    Do what your obsession with the surface of religion, what a historian once called 'the conflation of ethics with aesthetics', didn't allow you to do. Go deep. Live the darkness fully, suck the marrow out of it and feel every nuance of it. Learn the emotional landscape, love it, find the gifts the dark night of the soul has to offer - they are many and precious.

    You haven't lost your *faith*, you have lost faith in the fools' gold of faith: its appearance, the surface habits that aren't anchored in anything deeper. Go deep and you will find the centre of your faith in your connection to G-d. And that will be your foundation on rock, not sand.

    God bless, now and always.