I’m fascinated by the responses to my post yesterday about the two hypothetical but spiritually blessed congregations of St Eucalyptus and St Anaglypta.
Broadly speaking, I think that the responses fall into the following categories:
- Change the game and ordain someone else (the Ordained Local Ministry option)
- Change the spirituality of the people and tell them they don’t need mass every week (the mattins option)
- Change Catholic order and use the Reserved Sacrament (the current option? interesting the no-one was actually advocating this yesterday)
- Change the way of making community and have people receive on their own/at home. (Madpriest and PMo offering different versions of this and the BBC flirted with it ages ago)
- Change the expectation that only clergy can celebrate (The Sydney Diocese/Neo-Puritan option)
There is another response which is “yeuch” which interestingly came most quickly from two folk who have lived but no longer live in a couple of churches where the tricky consequences of Scottish geography are very real indeed.
I’m most interested that there have been no responses that I can identify from those living in such places and worshipping in such churches at the moment.
I have to confess that I am fascinated by this. The question would be an interesting one to ask ordinands or perhaps especially a group of people applying for selection for the priesthood.
Just a little anecdote to add to the conversation today.
When I was in Perth doing my curacy, I chanced one day upon a block of stone sitting in one of the sacristy cupboards. “What’s this?” I asked, “and why are we keeping it?” One of the sacristans patiently explained that it was a mensa – a portable altar. It was a piece of stone consecrated by a bishop (presumably with holy oil and prayers) so that clergy could go out into the community and celebrate the Eucharist in places other than churches with fixed altars. It was explained to me that such a thing was particularly useful for celebrating communion by the bed of someone who was sick, for example.
“Oh,” I said, “but I just use a bedside table or a coffee table. I’ve never taken that stone with me.”
“Yes,” said the sacristan, nodding sagely, “things change. Things change.”
Those who want to do a little research into some of the issues might want to follow up these two links:
- Fr Madpriest’s online liturgy for St Luke’s Day yesterday – and also his comment on yesterday’s post about power and liberation theology
- The Wikipedia article dealing with altar stones
- Peter Ould’s recent paper – the Tweethood of All Believers which was given at a recent conference – subtitle is “Creating Online Community and Its Limits”
Now, more comments about St A’s and St E’s and the predicament they are in are welcome. I don’t think we have exhausted the issues they raise by any means.
Things change you know. Things change.