The recent silence on this blog hasn't been caused by my having nothing to blog so much as by my not feeling able to blog about everything that is going on in any sort of measured or temperate way.
Shakespeare, as is well known, however, has a word for everything and Sonnet 66 says much about my views on what is happening in the Church today. (I note that Lady Asquith doesn't adduce this sonnet as an allegory about Shakespeare's Catholicism in Shadowplay, by the way.)
Tired with all these, for restful death I cry
As to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm’d in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
Fairly early on during my marathon look at what a pre-Pius X calendar would look like, I started to note consciously every time at Sunday Mass the priest added to or subtracted from the rubrics. After a year, I can report that there hasn't been a single Mass I've been to at which the priest hasn't added to or taken away from text of the Missal before him. Sometimes it has been small: "Pray sisters and brothers" instead of "Pray brothers and sisters" or "Pray brethren"; sometimes it has been the use of the Apostles Creed accompanied by a statement that none of us knows what consubstantial means; sometimes it has been adding a saint or two, or the names of the people for whom the Mass is being offered to the Eucharistic Prayer; sometimes it has been the five sermon Mass; sometimes during the football season we have had a discussion of the results either from the pulpit or the altar; usually it has been several of the above, and more.
And gilded honour shamefully misplac’d,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgrac’d,
Worst of all, and thankfully only once, a visiting priest insisted on improvising the Eucharistic Prayer: with the exception of the words of institution, he made it up as he went along. (And by the time we got to the Eucharistic Prayer we weren't surprised as he had improvised everything else as well.) For the record, something analogous happened at one of the three EF Masses I got to. The priest had fallen ill and his replacement, who hadn't said a Latin Mass since the 1960s, simply did what he could remember, without bothering to ask anybody or look anything up.
And strength by limping sway disabled,
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And then the Pope, saying the first thing that comes into his head; or does he actually believe some of the stuff he comes out with when he stops and thinks? What does he think the Pope is for?
And folly—doctor-like—controlling skill,
And simple truth miscall’d simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill:
Even worse, the people who are taking advantage of the anarchy provoked by the Pope to push their own agendas. Not just the Kaspers, but all of the little things going on up and down the country that are about making us less distinct and "more like everybody else". "You don't need to worry about abstaining from meat on Fridays: that was the old Pope": that sort of thing.
Tir’d with all these, from these would I be gone,
Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.
But even with all of this, whatever is happening in the Church doesn't change the fact that it's my Church. Whinging on blogs isn't going to do anything, but fasting and prayer might. So don't expect near daily blogging or suchlike, but do join me in praying for the Church, and for the very holy priests, men like Cardinal Sarah, who are, I hope, its and our future.