Wednesday, November 03, 2010

World War 2

It seems that we are still obsessed with the Second World War. For many of the now elderly it was the defining period of their respective lives and the consequence of National Service for over a decade and a half or so afterwards was the normal "rite of passage" for those of my generation.
So perhaps using it as a point of reference is understandable.

What is not understood, however, by so many is that references to it should be exact. There are parallels to the holocaust as in parts of former Indo-China. It should, by now, surely, be clear that any references to World War 2 are likely to be jumped on heavily by those disagreeing with the main point to which the reference is attached.

So both Wallace Benn and Christina Rees fall into the trap. There are parallels which can be made wherever minorities are involved be it in former Yugoslavia, Cambodia, and whenever members of the minorities decide that they have had enough, as in the Middle East today. However, using the parallels is almost certainly bound to arouse adverse comment, and the digging up of old, marginally related, scores.

This time we have the charge that the Vatican could have done more to oppose the Nazis. Well, I do wonder, and pose for the discerning reader a question about that.

My mother-in-law, a left wing resister to Nazism took refuge with her Trotskyite friend first in Paris and then, after war was declared, in Toulouse in the German allied state of Vichy France.

It has come to to light that she, a freethinker of Franco-Prussian extraction, was helped to remain there with funds provided, it would appear, from the Vatican provision for those in her position.

Can we really believe that the Pope would send a memorandum to Himmler explaining what they were doing to help Hitler's enemies? Were timetables for the trains which rescued refugees from under the noses of the Nazis sent to the local SS commander with a list of passengers and their ethnic origin?

No, of course not! We need to "get real" as they say and understand that any underground activity remains so, and to try a little harder to work out what the Pope did to cover the tracks of those under his command who were busy undermining the devilment brought by Hitler and his associates.

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In the sticks

This year I have been afflicted in various ways, by the builders being in and out for weeks on end, and more still to come, by falling over a manhole which resulted in some stitches to the upper lip and drinking through a straw for a week or so, and by an ear infection which caused great wobbling.

So I took to a stick. This is now part of me and I use it while the infection takes its time to go away.

However, along with the stick has come a certain degree of attention. There are lots of people of my age using them. However my attention has been taken by a young man with a growing family who regularly uses a walking stick, to great effect! He looks terrific and has great dignity, rather like those old school army officers who were accustomed to use a walking stick when on their rounds, evoking the image of a landowner visiting the estate rather than a young subaltern making his presence felt with his leather covered cane in hand or tucked under the arm.

May be this article could be recovered, the walking stick.

Is there a case for a movement to "bring back the walking stick"?

I only ask!

Fr Ted

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Victoria Street

The ordinariate seems still to be the number one topic among Forward in Faith followers and Anglo-Catholics. No more "Crossing the Tiber" perhaps, rather a gentle walk down Victoria Street, one end to the other, from Church House and almost to Victoria Station ... but not into the Basilica for normal Mass, rather into an area specially for those holding to their Anglican patrimony and from which Roman Cathloics outside the ordinariate will be debarred.

All of which causes me a mental headache, perhaps anxiety leading to the migraine from which I am suffering as I write. Nick Baty, prominent as a Roman Catholic journalist with The Universe and Catholic Family Life, would tease me from time to time as being far more Roman than he was.

This was odd as all the liturgy at St. Mary's, Thorpe, Egham, where my wife and I worshipped in retirement, was taken from Common Worship. It typified what seemed to many Roman visitors a sensible Anglo-Catholicism highly consonant with the best of their own.

Briefly there appears a paradox: Benedict wishes those moving into the ordinariate to bring with them a patrimony which will be clearly Anglican; those moving over seem indistinguishable from Roman Catholics. So where is the Anglican element of the patrimony to be? We need to know. Surely it can't be "Common Worship"? Much more an attitude of mind and an approach to pastoral care which is fairly indefinable these days. Newman + George Herbert, perhaps.

As I note, we need to know. It is not good enough to say that it will evolve as former Anglicans move ahead in faith that it will work out well. We need to know the direction and a little detail to be spelled out.

Good hunting!

Fr. Ted

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