Sunday, October 15, 2006

Cranmer revisited
Or ‘What will you be doing on Oxford Martyrs’ Day’?
• Remembering what the parish of St Mary Madgalen, in which the site and monument are, was like as Canon Colin Stephenson left it. I caught a glimpse going to Masses and making confessions there a long time ago, before the incumbent went ‘InclusiveChurch’. (Transatlantic déjà vu: went through something similar at All Saints’, Orange, New Jersey.)
• Being reminded of the re-telling of the English ‘Reformation’ on ‘The Simpsons’ with Revd Lovejoy as C: ‘By the power vested in me... by you... just now...’ (Only two good things came out of the actual event: services in English and an attempt at the office for everyman.)
Ab illo bene + dicaris, in cujus honore cremaberis. Amen. Let’s have a cookout!

Seriously (for the irony-challenged), as I wrote to Arturo Vasquez, I use his idiom but unlike An Anglican Cleric don’t go in for his theology. He may not have been black-hearted but was Protestant!

His problem wasn’t so much that he was un-papal as anti-Catholic in general.
We will not receyve the new servyce because it is but lyke a christmas game, but we wyll have our old service of matens, Masse, evensong and procession in Latten as it was before, and so we Cornysshe men, where of certen of us understand no English, utterly refuse thys newe Englysh.
- The rebels of Devon and Cornwall, 1549

But at his best he shared with the Catholic Church a 16th-century Godward worldview and understood objectivity in worship. As G.K. Chesterton said the beauty of the Prayer Book isn’t that it was the first Protestant book but the last Catholic one.

To better understand him, think in present-day terms: what if one of the many little liberal vagante schisms had the power of the state — the police, the army, the courts and the prisons — behind it? (Like they say a language is a dialect with an army and navy.)

St Margaret Clitherow (whose shrine up north I’ve been to), pray for us.

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