This week's Spectator is real joy, with excellent articles by Rod Liddle on Andy Coulson, by Robert Gray on Cardinal Manning, and by Peter Hitchens on hatred of the Pope, but also on how the New Atheists who profess to love the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer would hate them if they bothered to pay attention to the substance of what they said rather than only to the undoubted majesty of how they said it.
He wants to make the Prayer Book the manifesto of a counterrevolution, and of course I do not agree with him on that one, although it must be said that Dr Cranmer's Anthology certainly yields to no one and to nothing in its presentation of the truths common to its users and to the Catholic Church, while its uncompromising Protestantism on other points is, after all, what it is for. Its language may sound particularly impressive now, but in its day, the whole point of it was that it was in normal English. Normal educated, literary English. But normal English all the same. The things said, not only the means of saying them.
Peter seems to be moving into what Maurice Cowling called Public Doctrine, and one thing that occurs to me is that well into living memory his beloved Prayer Book was also widely used among Methodists, as John Wesley had intended, while earlier such Wesleyan Methodists in much of the Empire had pushed for a share in the role and revenues of Establishment rather than for the disestablishment, with its formal declaration of State secularism, to which the Methodist Church of Great Britain, like the United Reformed Church, has never formally committed itself. (Where some Catholics get the idea that the Church favours, or is even reconcilable to, "the separation of Church and State", I honestly cannot imagine.)
There may be part of a future book on this, but for now I have just come from returning to the dear old University Library some of the reference materials for my first ones. Unlike a lot of people, I love Durham, the population of which doubles during the undergraduate terms, both as a lively little city for the half of the year when it is full of students, and as a blissfully quiet one for the other half. It no longer matters which half in order for, as the online directory describes me, "Academic/Management staff" to secure access to a university computer, such as that at which I am writing this, before toddling off home. I have finally even wired up email@example.com (yes, my contemporaries, it is still that) to feed into my Hotmail account, in anticipation of rather more people's use of it in the coming months. And what a thing it is to be able to take out up to forty books at a time, and to keep them for six months.
Anyway, expect light, if any, blogging, including moderation, until Sunday evening at the latest. My tenth anniversary graduation dinner in my original college is tomorrow.