Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Clem’s gets noticed by mainstream media
I slightly know the writer. A friend who at the time was a Continuing anglican (never a Lambeth Anglican — for some time now most Continuing Anglo-Catholics never were Episcopalians!) told me he belonged to the world’s smallest and biggest church at the same time. S. Clement’s is rather like that — marginalised and probably doomed in the Episcopal Church in the long run but smack in the centre of the historic Catholic mainstream in belief and praxis. Mass-and-office Catholicism dressed up in baroque splendour. Like Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre of blessed memory’s ‘eternal Rome’ only without his movement’s French fascism and substituting English, you guessed it, tolerant conservatism.

S. Clement’s always was nearly unique in America (like Manhattan’s St Mary the Virgin used to be), an English-style AC shop in a church and country where the ACism was more Prayer Booky (which is why you can more or less follow an American Missal Mass with your pew Prayer Book) and, though English Use never took in the States (watered-down Ritual Notes did before imitators of Vatican II changed everything), leaned more towards ye-olde-Englishness (St Thomas, Fifth Avenue taken up a notch!) which meant Gothic not the Romanesque stone or brick places like Clem’s and some of the English ‘shrine churches’. Put another way American ACism reflected a sometimes fanciful idea of England whilst Clem’s was like being in parts of England. Most of Clem’s English cousins are now Novus Ordo but sometimes with the panache I could always find in England because I was looking for it.

Kendall Harmon’s readers sound off.

From a Clem’s stalwart, good friend and (in the tradition of St Alphonsus Liguori) unofficial theological adviser to this blog, Paul Goings.

No comments:

Post a comment

Leave comment