Gosh, what a set-up! I had the privilege of a week-end at Newman House, centre of the Catholic Chaplaincy to the University of Cardiff. A remarkable combination of Oratorian culture (a strong and vivid reality of Prayer ... a great deal of hard and sacrificial work ... with the accidentia of 'the Cardinal's' arms, portraits, busts, engravings, dolci, wine, formal meals, good conversation, fine liturgy) and the liveliness of a student body. Both of those sides come nicely together at table, when the students in the Hall of Residence which the Chaplaincy maintains wear gowns and it all has a formal atmosphere uncommon in modern life (not much of it in Oxbridge nowadays). The bright young people, in their compassionate kindness to the poor old gent, really seemed interested during the couple of lectures I gave.
It's amazing, isn't it, the vibrancy and missionary power which the Sons of S Philip have brought to the Anglophone Church, notably in the last decade or two. I can't for the life of me think why that is. (Dash of Irony there. I can.) And I was much touched by the warmth of their welcome and their hospitality.
On Friday night, the venerable Pelican Club had invited me to dinner; I seemed to be surrounded by judges and Lords Lieutenant. In my after-dinner speech, I explained to them what the "Anglican Patrimony" which the Ordinariates had brought into the Catholic Church really meant. They, mysteriously, kept laughing at all the erudite information I gave them and, noticing my sartorial exigencies, gave me some cuff-links.
My visit to the Principality coincided with the 'consecration' of a 'woman bishop' in some body called the 'church in Wales'. But I wouldn't want you to think that there was any causal connection. Bad taste, I think, to time such divisive events during the Church Unity Octave. In an act of retaliation (no, I don't mean that) the Chaplaincy complex will soon be flying a replica of the Flag of the Five Wounds which our forefathers carried in their acts of witness against the Tudor Tyrants. Four cheers for the inventiveness and imagination of Dr David Woolf!