Comments: Opinion - 12 April 2017

I went to my first ever Chrism Mass yesterday. I've always avoided them in the past, there is enough for us volunteers to do in Holy Week anyway. Of course in this diocese there is no need for a separate event to be held for those who fear the taint of women so it was something of an ecumenical gathering with clergy of all persuasions present. And indeed it was a good game trying to discern the churchmanship of the participants by the cut of their collar and other outward and visible signs. The Cathedral was full, so it could be said that it was fulfilling its role as mother church of the Diocese and with this Diocese being such a peculiar shape, and parishes at the eastern end being nearer to three other cathedrals, one in France, than to their own, some will have travelled a long way to be there. For the many clergy to have travelled long distances it must have been an event which they value, but for the large congregation of laity it was really a spectacle at which we were the audience but hardly the participants. So it had something of the atmosphere of a private party at which the poor were allowed in to see the entertainment of the rich. I'm not sure that I will bother to attend again.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Wednesday, 12 April 2017 at 11:04am BST

Thank God for @fictionfox and her wonderful sense of the ridiculousness of Anglicanism, all said with humour, joy and love. Such a pity the Anglican Memes article missed her two best tweets: the purple suede shoes, and the autocorrect of "rocket and chimera".

Posted by Peter S at Wednesday, 12 April 2017 at 11:18am BST

ReBuilding The Broken Body by Jenny Sinclair is a very engaging read. Sinclair notes, "Francis wants the Church to be outward-facing, not only a Church for the poor, but a Church of the poor. While we are estranged from people who experience non-power, we are impoverished, less human." That would be a very high mountain to climb. Part of the difficulty is encapsulated in the proverb i.e. that the church likes poverty, it just doesn't like people who are poor.

As for the wider politcal scene, little doubt populist ideologues will trash the poor and disenfranchised with the same contemptuous alacrity as have globalist elites.

A not so engaging read is, Looking Down the Well at the Resurrection. I kind of lost interest after the first paragraph; but the opening paragraph with its jejune observation about the search for the historical Jesus certainly caught my eye.

Ahistoricism and anti-historical perspectives are alive and well, and no where more so than in what passes for contemporary biblical theology.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Wednesday, 12 April 2017 at 3:00pm BST

@fictionfox sums it up neatly: Truly Anglican episcopacy should be ' Low in height' but 'sharp and straight'.

Posted by David Emmott at Wednesday, 12 April 2017 at 4:09pm BST

"Lastly there is no indication as to whether and how the Working Group will invite contributions from those who work in, volunteer or attend and support their Cathedrals. I hope this isn’t going to be another closed door exercise with its conclusions handed down from on high for the rest of us to like it or lump it."

"So it had something of the atmosphere of a private party at which the poor were allowed in to see the entertainment of the rich. I'm not sure that I will bother to attend again."

Clericalism is a big problem and Chrism Masses are clericalism at its worst, but the CWG does indeed also look suspect. The Vice Chair's approach to volunteering in York must be a concern.

Posted by Kate at Wednesday, 12 April 2017 at 4:22pm BST

As a cleric (full disclosure), I don't believe Chrism Masses have to be "clericalism at its worst". I'm sure they can be, of course, if they are not shaped and led sensitively. But in two dioceses I've worked in, they've felt like genuine celebrations of the diocesan family, ordained and lay, with signficant numbers of lay people coming and playing significant roles in the service, and opportunity for everyone to recommit themselves to following the example of Jesus in caring for and serving others.

Posted by Philip Hobday at Wednesday, 12 April 2017 at 5:44pm BST

'Clericalism is a big problem'

Anti-clericalism is a big problem too, and as repellent as clericalism. Any 'us and them' thinking us a big problem.

Posted by Adny at Wednesday, 12 April 2017 at 6:03pm BST

Re: Kelvin Holdsworth, "The Chrism Mass, for those who’ve not a clue what I’m talking about, is one of those liturgies invented in the second-half of the twentieth century and which has acquired a curious patina of fake ageing."
What a terrific sentence ( :


Our diocese has had a Chrism mass with renewal of vows for years; but a number of years ago, I quit attending.

I could not decide if the idea was to renew one's commitment to serving Christ and the people of God, or if the agenda was to pledge fealty to one's episcopal liege lord.

I understand this hierarchical schtick is actually compulsory in some places.

I like Holdsworth suggestion, near the end, about quietly reaffirming one's commitment privately, i.e. with reflection and quiet prayer.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Wednesday, 12 April 2017 at 6:05pm BST

Totally agree with Kelvin here. 'Chrism Mass' in this diocese is on Maundy Thursday morning - busiest week of the year for clergy - and takes two hours as it includes foot washing (bishop washing feet of every person present). I try to be organized but I'm never well enough organized for the weekend's services to be able to punch that three hour (when travel time is taken into account) hole in my Holy Week preparations.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Wednesday, 12 April 2017 at 6:42pm BST

As one of the 'private party' at the same service Richard, it's a pity you weren't at one during tha last regime. The whole tone is much more 'together' than it used to be. In fact I used to stay away also after a couple of years

Posted by Sueeve at Wednesday, 12 April 2017 at 8:17pm BST

I agree with the Provost of Glasgow Cathedral on most things, but have to disagree with his remarks about the Chrism Mass.

In the Diocese of Christchurch, New Zealand, we met of Holy Tuesday (for reasons of busy-ness on Maundy Thursday in most parishes) as laity, clergy and bishops to witness the Blessing of the oils of Chrism (Baptism , Ordination and Confirmation) and of Unction (Healing & Last Rites) by our diocesan, Bishop Victoria.

We then, in our three orders, Lay, Clerical and Episcopal (there were 3 bishops present) renewed - separately - our Vows; of Baptism, of diaconate, of priesthood or episcopate. This is one time in the Church's Year when representatives from all parts of the diocesan family are able to meet together with our bishop to affirm our organic unity.There was a goodly attendance - simply because we were not all in the middle of celebrating the Great Triduum in our own parishes.

I submit that not all 'recent' additions to the Sacred Tradition are either useless or heretical.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 13 April 2017 at 4:14am BST

Louie Crew Clay is awesome! Of course, we are all adopted by God. So the brouhaha's about who's in and who's out really don't make a lot of sense, ultimately.

Posted by Cynthia at Thursday, 13 April 2017 at 5:13am BST

"We then, in our three orders, Lay, Clerical and Episcopal (there were 3 bishops present) renewed - separately - our Vows"

Why, in order to renew vows did the community need to divide into orders? Why did renewal of vows need to be done separately? That's divisive. That's clericalism. All three orders, all dressed casually so that there are no differences of raiment, should renew vows as a group in a simple acclamation, "We renew the vows we have made to the Lord." Then some quiet while individually people reflect upon their vows. That's a format which builds unity and not division.

Posted by Kate at Thursday, 13 April 2017 at 10:01am BST

The Diocese in which the Provost and I both serve, we have a separate service (at the opposite end of the year) where Lay ministries (both licenced and authorised) are celebrated and affirmed, but I do have the feeling that we should be doing this kind of thing together rather than apart.

Posted by Kennedy at Thursday, 13 April 2017 at 1:22pm BST

When +Falkner Allison announced he would be bringing oils of chrism to the Confirmation at Horncburch (just before I served my curacy there in 1959), and saw the look on vicar Hayman Johnson's face, he said reassuringly: "don't worry, I shall only use little bottles".

Posted by Michael Skliros at Thursday, 13 April 2017 at 2:35pm BST

Having this morning shared in the Chrism Mass for the Diocese of Edinburgh, as I have for the last sixteen years; I have come away renewed by the family being together. The renewal of our Baptismal vows, followed by the renewal of our ordination vows made by both priests and bishop.
The Blessing of the oils , integral to the whole Mass, done in a smooth, integrated wholesome manner.
Our retiring Provost preached the sermon, and the feeling of wholeness evaded the Mass, a time of renewal and joy.
Talking with my fellow priests about Kelvin's words, it was felt by many that moving the service to the Tuesday of Holy Week would be better for all concerned. Many of our folk have a long journey to our Cathedral of St Mary.

Fr John Emlyn

Posted by Fr John Emlyn Harris-White at Thursday, 13 April 2017 at 4:51pm BST

Dear Kate; love yer lots, but really! I would have thought that, before commenting on this matter of the Chrism Mass you might have looked at the differences of commitment that are contained in the services of (a) Holy Baptism, (b) priestly ordination, and (3) episcopal ordination. They do happen to be 3 different types of commitment - even if for the same ends. Enjoy your Easter. I do hope your local clergy feel loved as they try to fulfil their specific voication to serve you.

I want you to know that, in Christchurch, N.Z., under our Bishop, Victoria, we all feel equally loved by one another and by God - no separation.It was just so good to be able to celebrate that in this particular eucharistic event.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 15 April 2017 at 3:14am BST
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