Candlemas

I didn’t write it up yesterday, but I blessed the pair of candles for my Lady Altar and celebrated the Mass of the Presentation / Purification. It was all simple because I was on my own. The texts are rather beautiful and show the relative complexity of the old Jewish rite compared to the much simpler Churching of Women after Childbirth we have in the medieval western tradition.

Where my Mass was rather simple, here is the liturgy according to the Sarum Use as it was briefly revived in Oxford – Candlemas Celebrated in the Use of Sarum – Videos from 1997. The videos are still available on Youtube in a long series of ten-minute parts. Someone ought to join up the parts and upload a single file of the whole ceremony – like what I did with the Quentin Crisp film yesterday (except that I did not upload it anywhere). The film of the Candlemas ceremony gives us a good idea of the full high ceremonies with a lot of people involved.

In the NLM article, a wistful commenter expresses his hope for the interest of the Ordinariates in the Sarum Use. It just won’t happen, and their liturgical books are published. I seem to be the only priest in the world using Sarum regularly – either in Latin or English. Whatever… I’m not complaining. The Roman Catholics are hag-ridden about whether it is allowed. Some Orthodox use it but in versions that are heavily interpolated with material from other sources. It is often talked about by some Anglicans, but I seem to be the only one just getting on with it – with my Bishop’s blessing.

The way the world is going, we seem to have bigger problems to think about like the collapse of the European Union and … World War III?

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12 Responses to Candlemas

  1. People were talking about the collapse of the European Union and World War Three in relation to the financial crisis in Greece. Those fears seem to have blown over.

    The current refugee crisis seems to be leading to greater European co-operation rather than break-ups and fighting.

    I do wish you could see the brighter side of life sometimes, Father.

    • I would like to believe you are right. Are you sure of it in yourself? 🙂

      • Oh yes. There is no political will to see the collapse of the EU. If Greece wanted to stay in the EU despite the harsh medicine she was made to drink, it’s difficult to imagine any country other than the UK (which probably won’t) leave the EU. The EU is here to stay because it is impossible to imagine what would replace it.

        I can’t think of many situations that would result in World War Three. Putin invading a NATO country might, but would he do that? He hasn’t gone to war with Turkey and that was the closest he came so far.

        You really must stop always expecting the worst outcome. It can’t be good for your health.

      • Well, you seem to know a whole lot more than I do about this subject. I suppose that little man Putin is playing with fire invading Turkish territory and barrel bombing Syria and all that. I don’t think the Fathers of the Oratory would approve… Oh, no they wouldn’t. 🙂

        Now, being a little less frivolous, I don’t appreciate a patronising rhetoric. It reminds me of the heady days of Benedict XVI and the RC apologists marching into my old blog with their dirty boots still on and mucking up the carpet. We Anglicans in little minority churches seemed to be easy prey, then the Pope abdicated and was replaced by someone about whom people speak with less ease.

        I don’t really think you are concerned about my health. However, I do a lot of reading, and I and many others are extremely concerned about the future of the various European countries and the entire global picture apart from the economic situation in Greece and the way they were manipulated by the ones typically targeted by conspiracy theorists.

        This blog isn’t the place for Euro-scepticism or the opposite, but I know a lot of people in France who were all for the Union from the beginning, but then saw more and more countries being brought in despite the huge differences between their economies and those of France and Germany. We realise the colossal amounts the unelected bureaucracy must be costing us all. Finally it seems to be the influx of economic migrants that is causing the frontiers to be closed again and the EU to be put on a very shaky foundation. That is from the mainstream news, not the crackpot conspiracy sites.

        Being concerned is healthy, because if the nasty-smelling stuff starts hitting the fan, some of us might be able to take shelter, at least for a while to stave off the inevitable. There are many signs both sides of the Atlantic, and they worry the most moderate and mainstream people I know both here and back in England.

        Of course, I would be grateful if World War III never happens (we were spared in 1962 and some other occasions). I would be happy for there not to be a catastrophic financial collapse and great depression or hyperinflation. Perhaps the Greeks got what was coming, but I think we would be talking differently if it happened to England. Islamic terrorism is a real threat as is their “Trojan Horse” operation in Germany, Sweden and other countries. Daesh is too big and tough to be a load of ragheads – they are financed by Saudi Arabia, apparently by Turkey (or at least they and Turkey do business) and according to some sources by the CIA. Putin is the only one really waging war against Daesh. I understand that the leadership in Turkey is no better than the Mafia and drug cartels in South America. We are in one big frightening world.

        We can have faith that humanity might mend its foolish ways and convert to God, but God just might not be interested. I wouldn’t blame him! It is easy to become complacent living in a nice house in England reading the Telegraph each day at breakfast before going to work. It is another to find out things from different alternative points of view, waking up and smelling the coffee. I am careful about conspiracy theories, but the Nazis in the 20’s and 30’s were no theory. Their conspiracy was very real. There is nothing to stop that sort of thing happening again.

        A bit of pessimism isn’t a bad thing, because it prevents complacency. Too much of it leads to discouragement, abandonment and inertia. Too much optimism is illusory, like Chamberlain with Hitler right up to the Führer’s treachery in 1938 and the invasion of Poland the following year. Perhaps I am crazy, but not so much so as to discourage you from visiting my blog.

      • I do apologise if I have come across as patronizing, Father.

        It just saddens that so often you offer such gloomy thoughts. I’m glad you recognise the danger of falling into despair. I think an additional danger of pessimisim is fear, which can lead to hostility towards the ‘other,’ hence the rise of xenophobic nationalism. I know you are no friend to that ideology, but I worry that your more apocalyptic thoughts may feed the paranoia and hostility of some readers who less generous in their attitudes.

  2. ed pacht says:

    I believe that a cautious pessimism is a far more constructive view than am overly optimistic view, If one expects the best results, that can be a guarantee of disappointment, and perhaps a crushing let-down. Things are generally (nearly always) not as good as optimists hope for, and a rosy outlook leaves one unprepared for the snafus that will certainly occur. If one expects disappointing results, then anything short of the worst emerges as a pleasant surprise, and the problems are met by prepared persons.

    I’m not expecting disaster (though I can’t rule it out), but I am expecting hard times, confusions, and frustrations. The signs are obvious that things aren’t as they should be and real instability is manifest wherever one looks, be it climate or economy, or the strife of nations and pseudo-nations, or the international dimension of plagues, or any of a huge number of other things, We are in for a rough ride — I find myself hoping it will be less rough than I expect, but I have to steel myself to be ready for it to be pretty bad.

    One historical constant is that every civilization comes to an end. This one certainly will, at some time, hopefully not soon. The world itself will end. Scripture is committed to such a view, though men will argue endlessly and angrily over just how that will work out.

    • You talk about our civilization ending. When would you say it began?

      • ed pacht says:

        Darn good question. Did it ever?

        Seriously, that is a matter of definition, but institutions do fall apart, sometimes very suddenly, and often what replaces them is alien and uncomfortable. This has happened multiple times in the history of Western civilization. Most of the transitions have seemed to blend into the next, but the amount of dislocation and suffering at such watersheds as the Reformation the wars and revolutions of the 18th & 19th centuries (including the civil war and the industrial revolution), the cataclysm of the depression and two world wars all produced the end of something familiar and the inception of something utterly unlike what preceded. We are in the midst of a transformation as dramatic as any of those, and who can tell how it will come out? It may not be as bad as some will fear, but it won’t be pretty. Major transitions never are. Moreover our institutions, whether political or private sector have become so complex and top-heavy that it becomes harder and harder to prop them up, while infrastructure crumbles. No, a soon-arriving collapse is not inevitable, but if its onset is not recognized as both possible and likely, the steps to prevent it won’t be taken. An overly optimistic view is a dangerous thing. (as, I admit, is an unrelieved pessimism – balance is essential).

        I guess that strayed from your question, but I don’t have a simple answer to offer.

      • You seem to have a good historical view of everything. My father was always so Establishment in his judgement over the years. Stick to the mainstream, trust the government, police, the law, all the official institutions and you can’t go wrong. Now in his old age he is frightened. My wife too is a conservative establishment-minded French woman. She too is frightened and horrified by the news of new atrocities and encroachments on hard-earned human rights and freedom. Something is definitely wrong for the most moderate people. Europe was the great aspiration of Napoleon (though we can doubt that conquest was the right way), and was definitely the thing to aim for after the defeat of Nazism and facing the threat from the Soviet block. I now see right being on the side of the Russians, and no longer Uncle Sam or what remains of the British Empire, still less the Brussels bureaucracy. It’s a good thing I’m now old to be drafted into the Army to fight them should there ever be a war!

        It’s difficult to imagine what will be next: Big Brother, the Head Choppers or the new Russia. No western church has any influence and the British Empire has passed into history. The tragedy is that when we Europeans have to emigrate, there really will be nowhere to go.

        All that said, miracles can happen…

      • ed pacht says:

        …. no place to go. I’m afraid I’ll agree that that is a pretty accurate description of apparent alternatives. Certainly Russia does not present itself as an acceptable alternative. The more I see of developments there, the less appealing I find it. There is a narrowness of view centering on the glories of Russia, a patriotism moving on to chauvinism that begins to sound like a weaker version of what emerged in Depression era Germany. I’m disenheartened to observe how thoroughly the Russian Orthodox Church has adopted this nationalistic view, thus masking the enormous value its traditions could have for the rest of Christianity, I tend to see an overwhelming degree of expression of a macho and bullying mindset, well illustrated in the swaggering behavior of Mr. Putin, but showing up even in prominent ecclesiastical figures; as well as a constant scapegoating and repressiveness directed at any who would dare to differ. I’m sorry, Father, but bad as our Western culture may have become, I still would find the Russian culture as a tad worse. I say all this as one who has always found much to admire in Russian theology, philosophy, and aesthetics. I fear Russia is as far from the potential of its heritage as we are from ours.

      • I’m not so sure that I like Putin’s style either, at least what is visible to most of us. There tends to be a “cult” round him, and that can never be a good thing. I am wary of nationalism because I have read too much history to be taken in by the god-like leader, whatever the word for that is in Russian. In any case, I don’t see him as being accepted as a leader by western Europeans.

        What is the alternative? I don’t see Islam taking over completely and making modern France, Germany, England, etc. like Saudi Arabia complete with public executions and mutilations. There is more of a danger of the “elites” setting up a totalitarian world dictatorship run by bureaucracy and machines. That is for as long as there is money to pay for it and a way to control the population. The imagination can run amok, so we have to be careful.

        I am essentially an anarchist, one who recognises that some kind of authority and law are needed to hold things together for the general population, but that some people can inwardly and spiritually transcend the determinism and the conformity mould. We need to take it all day by day and be aware if we are being boiled like frogs in slowly heated water. The best thing is to make our own decisions, for example getting out of cities and keeping the demons at arm’s length.

        In relation to another posting, Quentin Crisp was not wrong about everything. Just get on with life and be yourself!

      • ed pacht says:

        Yep. The NT and pre-Constantinian tradition give us two opposing yet complementary messages.

        1. to pray for the king, render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, submit to authority.

        2. render unto God what is God’s, obey God rather than man, take up a cross and follow Him, even at the cost of martyrdom.

        Order in society is highly valued, but Christians’ loyalty ultimately belongs to God, and will certainly prove to be out of accord, often and in many ways, with the dictates of society. What is not given to us, however, is permission to take authority over others to the extent of forcing their will. Here is a balance difficult to define, let alone enforce, but essential if we are truly seeking to be imitators of Him who lived these principles on this earth.

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