We are delighted that David Warren will be speaking at our Anglican Tradition in the Catholic Church Conference Nov. 15-16 in Toronto, marking the 10th Anniversary of Anglicanorum coetibus.
A former Anglican who has often written about what he still misses about Anglican patrimony since becoming Catholic, Warren is well-known in Catholic circles as a courageous, literate, witty and idiosyncratic observer of the political and cultural scene.
Take this delicious article entitled “A Rant.”
Two things I miss from my Anglican days: the King James Version, and the Book of Common Prayer. My friends who remained Anglican also miss them, for both have been removed from church services by the Anglican bureaucracy. As the priest who received me into the Roman Church said, Anglicans make ideal converts. We already know at first hand what happens when liturgical, scriptural, and other received norms are “progressively” abandoned: the church itself disintegrates.
But returning to my topic, it was the beauty and poetry, the precision of phrase in the named works that appealed to me. Stable, as they had been for so many generations, and breathing elevation, it was possible to memorize extensive passages; to absorb something timeless, in its nature and in its aspirations. Almost every phrase in KJV and BCP could be read and prayed as catholic. One was drawn out of oneself; lifted. One learnt the language with the gestures, and in the dance of tradition, did not have to think where to step. For the dancer who must think is always stepping on one’s toes.
The (characteristically glib and fatuous) argument of the progressives was that the KJV translation had, in the course of three or four centuries, gone out of date. Many words had changed in meaning. (A good example is “temptation,” as in the Lord’s Prayer. It meant a testing then, as Jesus in the desert; it means a chocolate cake now.) And scholarship was marching. New manuscripts, fragments and palimpsests continued to emerge from obscure monastic archives and the sands of Egypt.
I first came across David Warren in the early 1990s, through The Idler, a most unusual and always thought-provoking magazine that he edited. David Warren is quoted in the National Post (via Wikipedia) in an article about the magazine’s 1993 demise.
“we struck the pose of 18th-century gentlemen and gentlewomen, and used sentences that had subordinate clauses. We reviewed heavy books, devoted long articles to subjects such as birdwatching in Kenya or the anthropic cosmological principle, and we printed mottoes in Latin or German without translating them. This left our natural ideological adversaries scratching their heads.”
For several years, he wrote a great column for the Ottawa Citizen, one that was unabashedly Catholic and socially conservative and always original.
Register for the Conference here. And even if you can’t attend the talks, do come enjoy our marvelous liturgies on the weekend, that are open to the general public.