Sunday, September 13, 2009

Churches I Like

I haven't celebrated Mass there for years but I love the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, in Norfolk. I believe the place has deep sanctity.

The Shrine was a great center of pilgrimmage during the Middle Ages until its destruction at the Reformation. The 16th Century Arundel Ballad laments the loss:

Oules do scrike where the sweetest himnes
Lately wear songe,
Toades and serpents hold their dennes
Where the palmers did throng.

Weep, weep O Walsingam,
Whose dayes are nightes,
Blessings turned to blasphemies,
Holy deedes to dispites.

Sinne is where our Ladye sate,
Heaven turned is to helle;
Sathan sitte where our Lord did swaye,
Walsingam, oh, farewell!

But the tragedy of Walsingam's despoilation was reversed when Fr. Hope-Patten refounded the Shrine in the 1920s-30s and it continues as a popular place of pilgrimmage and devotion today.

Go there if you can and take time out to enjoy the pubs, if they haven't been banned, but be warned - conversation waxes theological.

God bless & Good Shooting,


PS. For an interesting take on the Reformation, and the new breed of millionaire it produced, check out Mr. Belloc's "What was the Reformation?"


bluepitbull said...

I haven't been in an Anglican church since I was eight. My parents had Brit friends that took us.

This was way back in the 70s in Arlington.

LSP said...

There's a few in Arlington - I like St. Mark's.

Also, vastly enjoy your blog!

darlin said...

What a beautiful church, very nice indeed! I was raised Baptist, today I view myself as Spiritual... don't know why I thought that I'd share that, I guess just cause I can! :-)

Son3 said...

I hope you don't consider this off topic, but what is a "Mass"?

LSP said...

Glad you like the church Darlin - good to know you're spiritual; I think most people are, if they're being honest with themselves.

S3 - 'Mass' = Holy Communion, Lord's Supper, Eucharist. Most think that the word comes from the Latin Dismissal at the end of the service, "Ite missa est" - "Go, It is sent." Others speculate that it comes from (Sanskrit/Aramaic ?) mesa, meaning table and refers to the Table, or Altar, which is central to the service.


Son3 said...

So, the bread and the wine are the literally physical body and blood of Christ?

(Again, not trying to run you off topic, just wonderin'.)

LSP said...

Not at all - I'd agree with Aquinas, check him at:

So I'd say a substantial change occurs, while the accidents remain the same. This is confusing for some because we tend to read 'physical stuff' for 'substance'.

Not that I'm an expert but I think the Aristotelian definitions work well sacramentally - if I was a Zwinglian, or an Anabaptist, or a different brand of Anglican, for example, I'd disagree!

Son3 said...

Okay, thanks!

BTW, why "Anglican"? Why not "Christian"?

LSP said...

Because some Anglicans don't believe in the sacraments, that of the Altar included.

Son3 said...

Sorry, I don't getcha.


(If my questions annoy you, let me know.)

LSP said...

Ask away.

Sacraments = "outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace given for us by Christ".

Granted that, why? To objectify grace so that we can 'get it' with certainty - in the same way, for example, that love is made concrete, or tangible, by outward signs.

Give it a search if you like.


darlin said...

I find this conversation interesting, I have learned a lot from both of you. I am curious why we, as human beings, want something tangible, is it not enough to just feel what we are meant to feel? I am sure that there is no concrete answer for this one, but please LSP if you do know share your knowledge with me.

LSP said...

That's a very good question. Humans need things to be tangible (touchable)because we rely on our five senses.

For example, to know where our computers are we have to be able to see, hear, or touch them.

The same thing holds true of spiritual, or non-material value. We know that someone loves us because they demonstrate that affection in outward ways. If they didn't, we'd never know how they felt. Which might, or might not be a good thing!

So, inner conviction, or 'feeling' is inextricably bound up with sense perception. The two are inseparable, hence our need for the latter.

Or something like that!

darlin said...

I love your explanation! So this would explain why God sends us messages through others, or why He uses any one of us for His messenger. I am getting excited here!!

LSP said...

I think you're right and the principle applies to the Church as a whole.

It is exciting!

darlin said...

Maybe it is about time I attended one of the churches in my new neighborhood and feel, ok... and hear, what is there!

If nothing else it might be a good P365 photo! Just kidding!

LSP said...

Give it a go - looking forward to the pics!

Son3 said...

I'm still wonderin' why you chose to become an "Anglican". What makes the Anglicans different.

LSP said...

S3 - that's a rather large question... but I'll give it brief shot.

Born into the Anglican thing and brought up, for the most part in England where Anglicanism is the State religion. So I suppose it came fairly naturally to me.

Viz. difference - for Anglicans like me there's little to tell us apart theologically from Roman Catholics or the Orthodox. We'd assert catholicism as the rightful patrimony of our part of the Church and would like to see reunion with the Western & Eastern Churches.

Other Anglicans, especially in England, Canada and the U.S. seem to have adopted a revisionist agenda that some would describe as 'pelosian'. I guess they stand out as being the most egregiously 'liberal' of the mainline protestant denominations.

Still others, mainly in Africa and South America, are conservative evangelicals - often charismatic. These make up the great majority of the Anglican Communion (50 or so million out of around 75 mill.).

So its a strange Church and presently very conflicted, not least because its Western decision makers don't reflect the fairly trad beliefs of most of its people.

Why the different strands of belief? Partly because of the ambiguity of the Elizabethan Settlement, which had to accommodate Catholics and Protestants in one national Church. Some would say, and I'd probably agree, that the Settlement is unraveling due to its inherent contradictions. But therein lies a future tale.

Feel free to send an email if you want to chat more about the knotty conundrums of 'Ecclesia Anglicana'!

God bless.

MK said...

That's a beautiful church.

LSP said...

I love the Holy House at Walsingham - thanks.

Third News said...

I've never heard of the consecrated bread and wine, described as occuring "substantial change".

If this is an Anglican priest's common belief, and they don't believe in transubstantiation, why would they become Catholic?

LSP said...

Catholic minded Christians, East and West, believe a change occurs in the blessed bread and wine of the Eucharist, 3rd News.

One way of describing that is in terms of substance and accidents. The underlying reality of the thing has changed while its appearance remains the same.

That works for me, though some take exception to Aristotle's way of parsing the nature of things.

On that theme, I'd say that many Anglican, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist laity -- perhaps others -- think that a real change has occurred in the bread and wine of Holy communion. If pressed, they'd probably say that the "underlying reality" of the blessed bread and wine coexist with the spiritual presence of Christ.

That'd make them, with Luther, consubstanialists.

Hardcore Reformers, like Zwingli, hated Luther's point of view, thinking it a Romish Abomination.

If you believe in transubstantiation why not become a Roman Catholic? Good question.

Third News said...

Roman Catholics described a believing a "spiritual" presence of Christ in the wafers and wine is news to me.

I can recall a priest going ballistic after finding a dropped, and discarded waver. He clearly stated that it was the physical body of Christ, and not a spiritual proxy.

Following communion, and before the end of mass, the priest consumes the remaining body, and blood, I believe for this very reason.

It strikes me as a conflict with the post-communion treatment of the body and blood, defining it as a host for a spiritual presence, ergo, free to come and go.

"If you believe in transubstantiation why not become a Roman Catholic?" I'm not asking that question of you-perhaps you are excogitating 'the grass is greener' mantra, due to the political nature of Anglican leadership? There is something comforting in people who have no shame in coming at you from the front with their knifes unsheathed.

LSP said...

Viz. Real Presence -- all true, the catholic church East and West has always believed that Christ is truly present in the Eucharistic species. So the elements are consumed after Communion, elevated, treated reverently etc.

In the West this Presence is defined in terms of substance and accidents, which is fine by me. But many of the laity don't think in those terms. They believe Jesus is really there and if you press them, they believe the bread and the wine are really there too.

This would make them pretty close to being consubstantiationalists and, strictly speaking, Lutheran heretics. Still, maybe I'm being a little cynical.

Believing that the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is "spiritual" doesn't deny the reality of his presence, it just means it's not material.

A sacrament is an "outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, given to us", teaches the church. And the faithful believe that the inward and spiritual grace of the sacrament of the altar is the Body and Blood of Christ. So we can call our Lord's presence in the Mass spiritual; still, it's probably more accurate to say that it's sacramental.

Love your knife, er, point.