Thursday, 25 May 2017
God Is Gone Up
Allelúja, allelúja. Ascéndit Deus in jubilatióne, et Dóminus in voce tubæ. Allelúja.
Except that, for yet another year, we have to endure the Biblical disobedience, the international eccentricity and the ecumenical humiliation of pretending that this is not Ascension Day.
There are ecclesial bodies in this country, including within the boundaries of this diocese, that variously ordain women, allow divorce and remarriage practically without limit, perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples, and allow people with no ministerial status whatever to preside at Communion services.
Yet they all manage to keep Ascension Day on the correct day. 40 days after Easter, it says in the Bible. So 40 days after Easter, it is. The question does not even arise.
Any more than it arises for the Pope, who most certainly does not move it to the nearest Sunday.
In the United States, bodies closely related to the Church of England, the Methodist Church of Great Britain and the United Reformed Church manage to maintain this even while blessing abortion facilities.
But in the Catholic Church in England and Wales, it is, apparently, beyond us.
All of those bodies also join the Pope in keeping the Epiphany on 6th January, so that they have something called the 12 Days of Christmas.
More of them than one might think also keep Corpus Christi, invariably on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, the day on which, again, it is also kept by the Pope.
Speaking of Trinity Sunday, the downright bizarre practice has very recently crept in, of using the Apostles' Creed rather than the Nicene Creed at Mass, for no better reason than that it happens to be a couple of seconds shorter.
It is almost physically painful to try to explain why such use is historically, liturgically and theologically illiterate. If anyone has to ask that question, then there would seem to be little point in telling them the answer.
To use the Apostles' Creed at Mass on Pentecost or Trinity Sunday is to recite an incomplete account of the doctrines to which the day bears witness, since ... well, if you have ask, then there is no point telling you.
The same is in fact true of every Mass, as such.
Our separated brethren would never do this, because they do not give the impression of being run by people who, rather like footballers, gave up formal education at a very early age in order to pursue something else entirely.
The Pope would never do it, because he is the Pope.
None of this, none of it, would ever arise if there were proper catechesis in Catholic schools.
As things stand, 16-year-olds are taken away from quadratic equations and from Shakespeare in order to spend an hour of each day colouring in pictures of nothing very much, while learning by some sort of osmosis that Christianity is about being a nice person, since Jesus gave such wise advice for practical living that people started calling him "the Son of God" as a kind of nickname.
But, of course, if they were taught Doctrine and Scripture instead, then they might start asking why their parishes were keeping the Ascension on the wrong day.