A Patrimonial New Year’s Eve

Alfred Lord Tennyson, longtime Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, was THE British Victorian poet, “Idylls of the King” sealing his place in literary history. Despite, as with so many classic poets, his disfavour with many modern academics, he retains countless fans the world over. This classic of his bids farewell to the Old Year, and a cautious welcome to the new.

The Death Of The Old Year

Full knee-deep lies the winter snow,
And the winter winds are wearily sighing:
Toll ye the church bell sad and slow,
And tread softly and speak low,
For the old year lies a-dying.
Old year you must not die;
You came to us so readily,
You lived with us so steadily,
Old year you shall not die.

He lieth still: he doth not move:
He will not see the dawn of day.
He hath no other life above.
He gave me a friend and a true truelove
And the New-year will take ’em away.
Old year you must not go;
So long you have been with us,
Such joy as you have seen with us,
Old year, you shall not go.

He froth’d his bumpers to the brim;
A jollier year we shall not see.
But tho’ his eyes are waxing dim,
And tho’ his foes speak ill of him,
He was a friend to me.
Old year, you shall not die;
We did so laugh and cry with you,
I’ve half a mind to die with you,
Old year, if you must die.

He was full of joke and jest,
But all his merry quips are o’er.
To see him die across the waste
His son and heir doth ride post-haste,
But he’ll be dead before.
Every one for his own.
The night is starry and cold, my friend,
And the New-year blithe and bold, my friend,
Comes up to take his own.

How hard he breathes! over the snow
I heard just now the crowing cock.
The shadows flicker to and fro:
The cricket chirps: the light burns low:
‘Tis nearly twelve o’clock.
Shake hands, before you die.
Old year, we’ll dearly rue for you:
What is it we can do for you?
Speak out before you die.

His face is growing sharp and thin.
Alack! our friend is gone,
Close up his eyes: tie up his chin:
Step from the corpse, and let him in
That standeth there alone,
And waiteth at the door.
There’s a new foot on the floor, my friend,
And a new face at the door, my friend,
A new face at the door.

Kipling’s Birthday

December 30, apart from being the only ferial day in the Christmas Octave, is also the birthday of British writer Rudyard Kipling. It might behard to think of him as part of the patrimony, given his political contention with Chesterton and Belloc, his Freemasonry, and his decidedly broad churchmanship. But against this might be set his deep love of England’s history – including her Catholic history (his “Puck of Pook’s Hill” really needs to be read in tandem with Belloc’s “Four Men“). In many ways, his muddled apprehension of things spiritual is reflective of the English character itself. But also reflective of that character was the beauty – and occasional truth – he was able to draw out of it. Certainly, Christmas was a recurring theme in his work; usually about its celebration far from home or in unpleasant curcumstances, reminding his readers that for all that, the feast was worth celebrating – a message that resonates in the modern world, with its mobility and frenzied melancholy. So, as we look at an apparently declining American Empire, do his words in “Recessional” resound through the years:

God of our fathers, known of old,
   Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
   Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
The tumult and the shouting dies;
   The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
   An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
Far-called, our navies melt away;
   On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
   Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
   Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
   Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
For heathen heart that puts her trust
   In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
   And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word—
Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

 

As fitting for us, 120 years after it was written. Despite his many detractors in and out of academia, Kipling still has legions of fans (of whom this writer is certainly one) – and a most unlikely place of tribute with sundry mementoes on display right here in Southern California!

Reasons to Visit Canterbury.

Today, December 29, is the feast of St. Thomas a Becket. As all the world knows, the pilgrimage to his shrine at Canterbury Cathedral inspired Chaucer’s work – amd as all the world knows, that shrine was destroyed by Henry VIII (although, according to legend, it contents were hidden in a locale know to a special few, whose descendants will return it when the building is Catholic  once more). To-day, Canterbury Cathedral still points out the sites of the shrine and martyrdom, and remains an incredibly beautiful building. But are there any other reasons to visit? Oh, yes!

The Catholic Church of St. Thomas Becket has a number of smaller relics to venerate; St. Martin’s church – the church used by St. Bertha at the time of St. Augustine’s arrival in England, and the oldest church in use continuously in the Anglosphere; St. Dunstan’s church, which contains the head of St. Thomas More; the ruins of St. Augustine’s Abbey; and, at nearby Ramsgate, the Catholic shrine of St. Augustine, Pugin‘s favourite of his own churches. The shrine offers the Traditional Latin Mass every day, while there are Ordinariate communities at Deal and Folkestone. In recent years, as in so many European Protestant countries, the pilgrimage has revived – and the modern Catholic may find it well worth its while.But whether you hike from Southwark or Winchester, or just drive to Canterbury, be sure to pray for the completion of the work of Ss. Augustine, Thmas a Becket, and Thomas More, inteh return of England as  while, Crowm and Country, to the Faith.

O BLESSED VIRGIN MARY,
Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother,
look down in mercy upon England thy “Dowry”
and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in thee.
By thee it was that Jesus our Saviour and our hope was given unto the world;
and He has given thee to us that we might hope still more.
Plead for us thy children,
whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the Cross,
O sorrowful Mother.
Intercede for our separated brethren,
that with us in the one true fold
they may be united to the supreme Shepherd, the Vicar of thy Son.
Pray for us all, dear Mother,
that by faith fruitful in good works
we may all deserve to see and praise God,
together with thee, in our heavenly home. Amen.
Nicholas Patrick Stephen Cardinal Wiseman (1802-1865)

MUSINGS OF THE ORDINARY (OLSC)

The Following is the December issue of “Musings of the Ordinary” by Mons Harry Entwistle, Ordinary of Our Lady of the Southern Cross:

The past twenty years has seen a significant shift in how our Australian society sees itself. An increasing number of people refuse to acknowledge that there is more to life than the here and now.

Belief and faith in God no longer shapes how many people live. Archbishop Chaput of
Philadelphia comments that “we’re a culture of self-absorbed consumers who use noise and distractions to manage our lack of shared meaning. What that produces in us is a drugged heart – a heart neither restless for God nor able to love and empathise with others.” (Strangers in a Strange Land, 2016, p.12).

The influence of organised religion has waned. We Christians have been subjected to moves to make us aliens in our own land, and to be banished to the margins of public debate.

The temptation to accept the status who, to give up evangelisation and focus only on social justice issues and provide welfare services is ever present. So what response should Catholics make?

Some Christians suggest that Catholics should live close to each other in neighbourhoods,
forming a non-enclosed community is the way we should respond.

Others take a very different view and believe that Jesus called his disciples to be the leaven in society. Yet that can never happen unless people have a personal relationship with Jesus, “follow the gospel, love the Church, and act like real disciples. If they don’t then religion is just another form of self-medication.” (Chaput, p.5). Sadly many Catholics live out their baptismal call in this way.

The real challenge we face is the challenge of lack of faith, and decades of inadequate
catechesis.

We are about to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, the Word made flesh who came to heal the breach between heaven and earth. “God became man so that man might become God.” (St Athanasius).

It is the belief in the Incarnation that makes Christianity distinctive from other world religions and secularism. It is the belief that shapes how we Catholics view the world, how we live and how we relate to others.

A recent article in the Catholic Herald (Natasha Marsh, Dec 1st 2017) offered the view that “In 2017, the Australian Catholic Church has endured an abuse crisis, lost a same-sex marriage vote and failed to stop euthanasia. Can it recover?” She observes that there are three groups emerging within the Australian community. She believes that the first group, which is the largest, does not realise there has been any change, because statistics indicate that only one percent of mass attending Catholics accept all the teachings of the Church.

The second group want to embrace the way of Liberal Protestantism and see the Church move “with the times”. Corporatisation is tightening its grip on the Church as the members of this group occupy the corridors of power in Diocesan offices, Education and Hospital management structures. Those of us in the Ordinariate who have experienced this same scenario in the Anglican Church are literally “voices crying in the wilderness” praying that this juggernaut is halted in its tracks because we know it will lead to embracing heresy and the Church’s disintegration.

Marsh argues that the third group seeks to hold to the divinely revealed truths of the faith and grow the Kingdom of God which the spirit of the secular age opposes. This group sees the most hostile places as the hospitals, schools and universities purporting to be Catholic and named after saints who were staunch defenders of the Faith.

Marsh says this situation explains why last week one St John of God Hospital wished its clients in a local newspaper a ‘happy holiday season,’ and a Catholic college chaplain was sacked days after celebrating an Extraordinary Form mass on campus, for which he does not need to seek episcopal permission. Members of this third group have the opinion that far too many Catholic leadership roles are filled by people who are nominal Catholics who no longer believe in the power of the message of salvation taught by the Church.

We are indeed in crisis, but must not concede defeat in our battle with the secular culture for the heart of the Church.

In 1969 the then Cardinal Ratzinger warned that the Church would lose much, become smaller and have to start afresh. Throughout Scripture, it has been a ‘Remnant’ of God’s people who have kept the faith in times of adversity. From that Remnant, new spiritual life has emerged.

It is vital that we members and supporters of the Ordinariate hold, believe and practice the faith of the Church, resisting the terrorism of sin, the world and the devil as we once more celebrate the birth of the one who defeated the absolute power of evil on the Cross.

In Christ
Monsignor Harry

The Catholic Church will survive in spite of men and women, not necessarily
because of them. And yet, we still have our part to do. We must pray for and
cultivate unselfishness, self-denial, faithfulness, Sacramental devotion and a
life centred on Christ.
1969 broadcast on German radio by Fr J Ratzinger

Nursing mothers in our parishes–and charges of immodesty

1200px-Aveiro_March_2012-21aThere are some Catholics who take avoiding a “near occasion of sin” to such extremes that they create a whole new set of rules to put a hedge around such occasions, and then act as if violating one of the “preventive” rules is also somehow sinful.

I am going to pronounce right now that this kind of thing is not part of our English Catholic/Anglican Patrimony going forward.  Maybe some of our readers and bloggers with a more scholarly bent will show how we are not Jansenists or Puritans, or T.U.L.I.P Calvinists.  (The T stands for Total Depravity).

Sometimes, rules around modesty are over the top and assume that concupiscence has such power over us that the mere sight of a woman’s cleavage or bare arms or a mother breastfeeding an infant will cause men to fall into helpless lust and therefore it is the woman’s fault somehow, rather than a man’s responsibility to rise above his base appetites and find a level of self-discipline.

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