I am taking ... again ... about a fortnight off from the computer. Daily I will, Deo volente, put a post on the blog but I will not be reading my emails, and that includes looking at comments submitted to the blog. So you can read me but not address me!!
Readers may wonder why I do not simply allow comments to pop up without bothering to moderate them, as I did when I started my first blog, Liturgical Notes. The reason is that it was made clear to me (not by my Ordinary) that clerical bloggers are to a degree considered responsible for the comments which appear on their blogs.
I am a simple soul, an increasingly frail, absent-minded and wool-gathering retired priest concerned to serve the Lord and his Church, to defend and explain to the best of my ability the Magisterium and the Liturgy; and I have no desire to create or endure hassle.
I would, by the way, appreciate it if friends tried not to fill up my email in-box during this imminent fortnight. It is a little overwhelming eventually to face several hundred emails all stacked up and waiting.
And I would recommend all readers to try the experience of not being open to the input which the Wonderful World daily offers us, whether by the Internet or the TV or the Wireless or the Daily Newspaper or the Telephone or even the Mails. Without all that, one experiences life just as it was experienced by the great majority of the members of the human race during the hundreds of generations preceding our own. The mind is so much more sensitive to actual real human interactions. And to the presence of the Lord in Holy Mass and Divine Office and Mental Prayer. And to the natural interstices of space and time. I do not even need to know about the Holy Father's Abdication the very moment it is announced! As it happens, I did not hear about Pope Benedict's Election until several days later. Before modern communications began, millions of Catholics probably had to wait for weeks before hearing that one pontiff had died and another had been elected. Did the delay matter?
Call it, if you like, the concept of a Secular Retreat.
(Although I am very attached to the Italian Lakes, there is no truth in the rumour that by Cardinal Nichols' kind invitation I shall be chairing this year's Spring Plenary of the CBCEW. Humility would incline me to decline such an invitation, anyway. I know the limitations to my man-management skills.)
27 April 2017
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Before your retreat, Father, may I request your thoughts on the current hot debate in the C of E, the Worcester Cathedral "Asparagus-gate"? The "Blessing of the Spears" strikes me as a rather splendid idea, entirely in keeping with Incarnational theology which marks the passing of the seasons (The asparagus season is traditionally framed by the Christian Feasts of St George and St John Baptist) and the importance of the particular place as well as our ultimate reliance on our Creator. In my romantic imagination, pre-Reformation England was full of such colourful and fun ritual, and those opposed to it petty minded puritanical dullards!
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