... take heed to thyself and to doctrine: be earnest in them. For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee ... (1 Timothy 4:16)

Sunday, January 02, 2011

All good things

The above is a final Star Trek reference as title to the final post on this blog a few thousand visits short of six figures (91,964 as I write this – not huge but respectable) – it is of course for you, dear reader, to decide just  how good it has actually been.

onetimothyfour initially gave me space to comment (!) on Anglican politics amongst other things, latterly tracking my journey home to the Catholic Church. Now that I am just across that threshold, it seems to me to have done the job that emerged for it.

I may well move in time to a new blog – should the need and inspiration arise, the name of which has yet to suggest itself (but which will be posted here as a postscript to this post). This may give me the chance to decide rather more deliberately than was the case with this blog just what its focus ought to be.

Thank you to all those who have read and responded to my posts here over the last two and a bit years, both to exhort and to admonish – your company has been appreciated.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Pope Benedict’s Prayer Intentions for January 2011

General Intention: That the riches of creation be preserved, valued and made available to all, as a precious gifts from God to mankind.

Missionary Intention: That Christians may achieve full unity, bearing witness of the universal fatherhood of God to the entire human race.

Apostleship of Prayer

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Flashmob Hallelujah chorus

Monday, December 13, 2010

Practical charity needed now

From ‘The Hermeneutic of Continuity

I have received a message from a group who help mothers who are tempted to have an abortion. Here is the information:

This young girl's baby is due in 3 days time and she has not yet got any of the essentials she needs for when he arrives. This girl previously had booked an appointment for abortion but changed her mind and has faced a really difficult pregnancy and has shown incredible courage to keep her baby despite immense pressure to have an abortion. Right now she needs really practical help and money. We are trying to raise at least £1000 for her to get some basic essential and support her and the baby is due in 3 days! Please give generously via Paypal to pregnancycrisisbham@gmail.com
Owing to the circumstances of the young lady, the details must be kept confidential but I am happy to vouch that this is a bone fide appeal. If you are able to help, please do. It would be a good Christmas gift to the Lord.

No ifs, no buts …

image Going on a demo is terribly exciting, especially if the students’ union has laid on a coach so that you don’t have to fork out to get to London.

I know this; I was at a redbrick university in the 1980s and we all did the right-on thing of ‘going on the demo’ – the subject of the demo wasn’t very important so long as it was anti-Maggie. It took little thought and was a day out, a bit of a laugh.

At that level, can we be too cross at the guys and gals who now attend the many, various and variable establishments of higher ed. and who have been present at the recent demos against the marked increase in tuition fees?

I demonstrated in the 1980s, and if I was at ‘uni’ now in my late teens, I’d probably – I am more than a little ashamed to say – do it again, without too much of a thought, which is is the point. It was a bit of a laugh to go along with the crowd – BAAA!

But to some extent, why shouldn’t they be cross? They have been brought up to think – falsely – that higher ed. – leading to the apocryphal degree in basket weaving or whatever – at minimal cost is a ‘human right’. Their parents and quite possibly grandparents have been through higher ed. since WWII at little or no cost, and are heading towards reasonable pensions, perhaps non-contributory. Why shouldn’t the present generation enjoy the same?

The simple answer is because mass higher ed. is not affordable and does not produce an educated or efficient cohort for the workplace in service of the common good. Many people who go to university nowadays get little out of it other than debt and a degree of which many employers, from experience, think very little.

But it’s all fine and dandy for me to say so. I, now in my 40s, benefitted from the post-WWII myth of the Welfare State as it applied to higher ed. I did not pay fees and received a substantial contribution towards my maintenance.

I have to put my hand up and admit that I – albeit perhaps to a slightly lesser extent to the generation or two before me – have enjoyed education, employment prospects and generally speaking pension expectation for which the generation or four after ours will have to pay, because my generation and those before mine have not contributed anything like enough.

The Welfare State and the culture of entitlement have come home to roost. My children and grandchildren will have it rough because their immediate predecessors, me included, were educated to think that we were owed an unduly cushy life.

It’s not fair on my children and grandchildren’s generations. In fact, it stinks. But that is how it is and smashing windows in Whitehall won’t change it. And it is post-war social democracy and its proponents who are to blame, not those who are now trying to sort out the post-war selfish-socialist mess.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

‘Elle est quand même notre mère’

Fr Robert Barron on why leaving the Catholic Church is never the answer.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Christmass starts with Christ


Pope Benedict’s Prayer Intentions for December 2010

Personal Suffering as a Help to Others who Suffer.  That our experience of suffering may help us better understand the pain of the many people who are alone, sick, or aged, and stir us to generous help.

Opening our Doors to Christ.  That the peoples of the earth may open their doors to Christ and to his gospel of peace, brotherhood, and justice.

The Apostleship of Prayer

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Pope and condoms

To the horror of conservatives and progressives alike, the Pope is reported to now approve of the use of condoms in certain exceptional circumstances – conservatives because it seems to go against Humanae vitae, progressives perhaps because they would rather eat nails than stand with Benedict XVI on matters of morality.

We have to wait until Tuesday to see exactly what the Holy Father said in its full context, but today’s newspapers carry quite a lot of it, and if you bother to read beyond the rather contorted headlines (‘historic u-turn … blah, blah’) to his own words, you will see that what he says on the use of condoms is a long way short of unconditional.

It is reported that the exceptional circumstance to which he refers relates to (male – presumably homosexual) prostitutes, intending by their use of condoms to reduce the risk of the spread of HIV / AIDS, and so logically specifically applies where the intent in using condoms is not contraceptive.

Condoms as contraception are still out. Condoms as a far from 100% effective barrier to the transmission of HIV / AIDS might however be a lesser evil than absolutely unprotected sex, if not in their highly dubious effectiveness but perhaps in their intent.

I guess it might rather be along the lines of it being arguably less bad to hold certain erroneous religious beliefs because you are seeking God honestly but in ignorance, than actively to deny His existence. That you are presently adhering to a religion or philosophy that is not Faith in Christ is more or less short of where you need to be for your Salvation, but your intent may be right, even if you do have some distance to go.

The use of condoms by heterosexuals is undeniably symptomatic of contraceptive mentality and the utilitization of sex and so remains intrinsically immoral, but it at least, in the context of AIDS / HIV – and particularly in the context of homosexual prostitution – may indicate the beginning of an acknowledgement that the other party to any sexual act has an innate value, and that the prostitute and the client accept some degree of mutual responsibility for one another as human beings rather than commodities, even if money has changed hands.

And, irrespective of precisely what the Pope said, one cannot reasonably say that one part of one interview constitutes a major u-turn. The use of condoms as contraception is prohibited authoritatively by Humanae vitae, and all sex outside of marriage, gay and straight, paid for or not, is sinful. These things have not changed.

One man, even the Pope, engaging in discussion with a journalist of a theoretical exception to an authoritative norm does not constitute an authoritative, let alone infallible, ex cathedra change in the Church’s teaching on anything, however badly the press and others might rather desperately like it to.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Arrangements for the forthcoming Personal Ordinariate – a personal take

The Catholic Bishops of England & Wales have announced how the Personal Ordinariate for former Anglicans will come into being during the first half of 2011. Read their statement here.

Confirming much speculation, the former not-yet-retired Anglican bishops who enter the Ordinariate will be Ordained as Catholic Deacons and Priests very quickly and the former Anglican priests who follow them shortly afterwards will also be Ordained as Catholic Deacons and Priests pretty quickly, around or at Pentecost 2011, their formation taking place intensively before and continuing after their Ordination.

The phrase ‘indecent haste’ might come to the minds of some, but let’s think about it. Are these men going to get Catholic Ordination on the cheap, barely having to break step and only for a few weeks not being called and regarded as Father? Or will there be more too it – to whom much is given, from them much will be expected?

I can’t see on a practical level – at the very least – how it could have been done any other way. As a very recent convert Anglican clergyman who does not intend to join the Ordinariate, I feel I have barely landed in the Catholic Church, have not entered the discernment process and – if it is to be – would not be Ordained as Catholic Priest for at least, I guess, three to four years. My formation &c would take place before I were Ordained, as might ordinarily seem right and proper.

But the establishment of the Ordinariate is not ‘ordinarily’. By its very definition, it is concerned not with individual Anglican clergymen with no-one in tow other than their own family, such as me, but groups of Anglicans, often formed out of the Anglican parish communities looking to the Anglican priests who will have led them to the Ordinariate.

They are to be Received into the Church together, as groups accompanying their shepherds, their Anglican priests – it seems reasonable that they need those Anglican priests to continue to lead them, at least initially. If they had to wait two or three years for them to be their Catholic Priests, the group coherence which brought them to the Ordinariate might start to ‘lose its structural integrity’ (Star Trek’s phrase for a spacecraft falling apart, sorry).

And to take it to a very personal level, might I be jealous of my former colleagues and friends who will become Catholics after me – just – and yet be Ordained two or three years before me? Do I rue my decision not to wait and join the Ordinariate? No, to both.

But is that because I am unconvinced by the Ordinariate concept, either in principle or because I don’t think it will work in practice and so don’t want to hitch my horse to its wagon? Again, no.

It seems to me highly probable that the Ordinariate will prove an important step in a true ecumenism that will bring eventually large groups of Anglicans into the Church, and as such will be important and valuable per se. There may be all sorts of practical and personal problems and hiccups to delight the critics, but where the ARCIC process has for forty years drawn an utter blank because it has enjoyed no-one’s full confidence, Anglicanorum coetibus and Benedict XVI, Pope of Christian Unity, walk the walk rather than just talking the talk.

But I am not intending to join the Ordinariate, simply because I do not believe that its service is the particular purpose for which God has created me and called me into His Church – although neither can I say that I have yet discerned what that purpose is.

And I suspect that if the day comes when any Anglican seeking the full communion of the Catholic Church is routed automatically and without option to the Ordinariate, that might prove to be a bad thing, simply in the context of the discernment of each person’s particular vocation.

Because for the Ordinariate to be now and in the future not a containment facility for ex-Anglicans (as is uncharitably suggested, for example, on the first comment here) but a positive force in the life of the Church, what must – and I think will – lie at its heart will be a sense of a very particular vocation and apostolate, to which not all former Anglicans will necessarily be called.

And those who are called to it may well have quite a task on their hands – financially, numerically and in terms of defining and preserving the much-discussed ‘Anglican patrimony’, bringing to a full flourishing the ‘Catholic potential’ in Anglicanism of which Pope Benedict spoke when head of the CDF.

The pioneers of the Ordinariate deserve the prayers of us all, and whatever support, spiritual and practical, we are variously able to give.

© Giles Pinnock
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