Saturday, 26 November 2016

Comments let's not eat pasta!

It has been pointed out to me that comments on this blog were turned off (I turned them off when I stopped blogging here) - as I seem to have resumed operation, at least for the moment, I have turned them on again, and welcome contributions.

I reserve the right though, to reject any comments whatsoever - in particular I'm not going to enable trolls or heretics; genuine inquirers though of course are welcome.

Meanwhile the situation of the Church both locally and internationally remains deeply depressing.

Let them eat pasta?

I was personally appalled recently, when the first response to the news of the earthquake that devastated Norcia - at a time when the monks of St Benedict's birthplace were reportedly out searching for people needing the last rites (though providentially none were killed as it turned out) -  was a message urging us to eat pasta in honour of town:

We did all'amatriciana for Amatrice. Let's try alla norcina for Norcia. Pasta as the stillpoint of a trembling world.

I must confess my first thought was to wonder if the Archbishop had perhaps been reading up on the French Revolution, and thinking of Marie Antoinette's famous advice to the starving peasants, 'let them eat cake'.  I then wondered if perhaps he had converted to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and I wasn't much reassured when he responded to my comment that perhaps a call for prayer and fasting might be more appropriate, by accusing me of puritanism.


As a follower of Benedictine spirituality, I tend to see such events as a call to turn towards the Lord (facing East!) and serve the Lord in fear and trembling.

But hey, I'm probably just a self-absorbed, Promethean neo-Pelagian rigorist...

In fact my response, on reflection, was to turn off the Archbishop's twitter feed (not a big deal since I only rarely check twitter these days in any case ), and I do think this is the best approach when faced with this kind of thing.

Suspension of the Magisterium?

But I have to confess that I couldn't resist looking it up again (to my regret) when the one blog I do still read regularly, Fr Hunwicke, pointed to another tweet from the Archbishop's extraordinary twitter feed, viz this one:

 In reply to 
Not easy to balance the pastoral & the pontifical, especially when the professorial is also in the mix.

Fr Hunwicke's note on this is extremely short, but as ever witty and to the point, so do go read and enjoy (and to save you looking it up, Mark 10:12 reads "and if a woman puts away her husband and marries another, she is an adulteress").

I do particularly urge you though, to go read the slightly longer piece Fr Hunwicke offers on the problem we must all ponder of how to deal with the Magisterium when it chooses not to actually teach the faith.

Defending the citadel of virtue with unchanging dogma

Once again I want to conclude with a little wisdom from St Bede.

In Nehemiah 3:3, we are told that those rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem added doors, bolts and bars, so that, St Bede comments, citizens might have a way of going in and out, and the enemy might be kept from entering.

So too, St Bede, urges, we must set a door in ourselves, first so that we can go out and do good works, thus leading others to God; but also so that we can defend the 'citadel of our virtue' against attacks and invasions of the enemy:
In the same way, therefore, doors of kindly provision should be placed in our good works so that, upon seeing them, our fellow citizens (ie our neighbours) might glorify our Father who is in heaven and by our examples learn also to go forward themselves and enter the walls of the virtues with us.  
Bolts and bars must also be set up against the attacks and invasions of enemies, namely so that by diligent industry we can defend ourselves on all sides lest by chance through our carelessness the ancient enemy be allowed to enter and storm the citadel of our virtue..
And just as the bars of cities strengthen the gates, in the same way the dogmas of the truth protect the churches throughout the world...Likewise set up the bolts and bars of our gate when we vigilantly take care not to betray the secrets of our faith to pigs or dogs (ie to unclean minds), or perform our acts of righteousness for the sake of human favour and allow people to enter and see our good works who bring more danger to us by praising them than they take salutary support from us by seeing them. (On Ezra and Nehemiah, trans Scott DeGregorio, pp 166-7)
As Fr Hunwicke urges, study history, for there are things we can learn from it.  And, I would add, also study Scripture, pray, and fast.


Joshua said...

Welcome back to the blogosphere! (From one who has not exactly been posting too frequently…)

Kate Edwards said...

Thanks Joshua. Not sure that I'll really be very active either, but good to be able to vent or ramble and test thoughts occasionally...