I have the impression of such a challenge in Odd One Out which comments on articles to which I have added thoughts in this blog.
Should we just put aside all we love, snap into lockstep, “convert to the true church” and grin and bear it. Surely if we don’t, we are insincere about our profession of the truth. Yes, if the Church has to be be the spiritual equivalent of the Waffen SS or the KGB. If that is to be so, then, truly, love has no place in this world and I would want nothing to do with it.
Perhaps a bigger challenge would be, however much we are concerned for faith and living some kind of relationship with God, relating to the world. Do we do anything other than engage in obsessive-compulsive behaviour, feeding our addictions? That can cut both ways. Perhaps “wreckovation” and the new liturgies bring pleasure and joy to some people, but they alienate others. The Church cannot be pensée unique or totalitarian, especially when it professes to uphold the freedom of conscience in step with most national constitutions in Europe and America.
At the same time, any practical effort to continue with old liturgies meets with unresolvable dilemmas and lack of interest. The article ends with a picture of a man in a nineteenth-century frock coat looking out of the window of a modern apartment.
Is that the condition I live in as I celebrate Sarum masses? I have often given thought to this question, being a member of an institutional church (the TAC and now the ACC) as a priest. Is it possible to be a priest alone for the simple reason that I’m in the wrong place to interest anyone in my “boutique”? If so, would it be better to use 1962, an older version of the Roman rite, the English Missal, the Novus Ordo, the 1928 or 1549 Prayer Book? Does it make any difference? Would it be better to shut the whole damned thing down, turn the chapel into a workshop or a music room cum library? What good would that do? Usually, when one makes a decision, one has to think whether positive good would come out of it. I honestly don’t think I am the wistful gentlemen in his flat. In my everyday life, I am very modern with casual clothes and long hair. Nearly all the people I know are agnostics and atheists, at least people to whom religious culture is as foreign as Zen Buddhism or Hinduism to us.
The two extremes seem to converge in the nagging thought “You know in your heart of hearts that it’s all bosh!” What I believe in in not bosh, but what most church people dress it up in is bosh. It is all very alienating. The one thought that keeps body and soul together is not making any change unless a positive good would come out of it. Otherwise, it’s Keep calm and carry on…