Comments: The Alban Pilgrimage 2014

Wish I could be there! Blessings to those who go...

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 10 June 2014 at 9:48pm BST

Is this a recognition of the undoubted spiritual gifts of Bishop Katharine? If so, it is long overdue. Her courageous leadership of The Episcopal Church in the United States has need of recognition - by the Church that has so often been seen to vilify, rather than support TEC's liberality in the name of Christ. I wish I could be at this pilgrimage. May God richly bless all who attend.

Congratulations to the Bishop, Dean and Staff of Saint Alban's historic Cathedral.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 11 June 2014 at 12:41am BST

It sounds like a wonderful pilgrimage; wish I could be there. The booklet is very interesting, and I was intrigued to see that the pilgrimage features an Orthodox service "Organised by the Ecumenical Chaplaincy and the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius" -- an association of Anglican and Eastern Orthodox going back to 1927. Here is a link to the website of that organization: http://www.sobornost.org/ . Fascinating history there, well worth a read! This makes it all the more encouraging that Bp. Katharine has been invited to preach.

Posted by Mary Clara at Wednesday, 11 June 2014 at 4:34pm BST

I'm all in favour of these public events. On the other hand, when it comes to 'veneration of the relic', I think we're in the world of higher mumbo-jumbo and in danger of justified public mockery.

Posted by John at Thursday, 12 June 2014 at 8:59pm BST

@John: Have you ever loved another person so much that items in your possession that once belonged to them are precious to you? That's how I feel about my father's rosary, which, to me, is a symbol of love, fidelity and discipline. I'm willing to bet you can understand that perspective.

Posted by Daniel Berry, NYC at Thursday, 12 June 2014 at 11:06pm BST

On the other hand, when it comes to 'veneration of the relic', I think we're in the world of higher mumbo-jumbo and in danger of justified public mockery.

Well, John if they were worshipping the relic, you might have a point. But they won't be, will they?

Posted by ian at Friday, 13 June 2014 at 1:07am BST

Daniel, I do understand it, but seems to me a different case.

Ian: always found 'veneration' a difficult concept.

I'm sticking with my formulation (though I know it's offensive to some, but more important issues seem to me at stake).

Posted by John at Friday, 13 June 2014 at 10:47am BST

I once heard the formulation "the 'idol-worshipper' worships what *s/he* sees, not what the non-believer doesn't see." Whether we're speaking of worshipping or "veneration", that remains the case.

If you don't feel that sense of (R. Otto) "mysterium tremendum et fascinans" in any particular place (or time), just move on. Don't be a buzzkill for those that *do*.

Posted by JCF at Friday, 13 June 2014 at 8:29pm BST

I think veneration of bones (and such-like) is basically pagan. I have no objection to paganism (I make my living from it) but I don't think it should be confused with Christianity.

Posted by John at Saturday, 14 June 2014 at 1:27pm BST

I am told that one of the most popular relics in the middle ages was the index finger of John the Baptist ( bones ) The reason? because it was assumed that that was the finger that pointed to Jesus with the words Behold the Lamb of God..Those who venerated the said relic did so because it pointed them in the same direction. Simple, I know, but not pagan and not mumbo jumbo, and not I think, unchristian

Posted by ian at Sunday, 15 June 2014 at 2:15am BST

The veneration of bones goes back to Old Testament times, and the veneration of relics, like the handkerchiefs of the apostles ( see Acts 19:12) an established feature of New Testament Christianity. This of course was rejected by the English reformers and this disregard is intrinsic to the 39 articles.

Posted by Robert Ian williams at Monday, 16 June 2014 at 10:19am BST

Fingers of John the Baptist? Presumably fake. Is it overly cynical of me to wonder how many such index fingers were claimed?

As for Alban, even the then Dean of St Albans, Christopher Lewis, said in 2002 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2074492.stm "Whether these relics are the bones of Saint Alban can never be known for certain."

Simon the sceptic
(as opposed to my colleague Simon of St Albans)

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Monday, 16 June 2014 at 10:38am BST
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