Tuesday, December 30, 2008

St Thomas Becket

I`m still simply mystified by the decision of the bishops of England and Wales to downgrade the feast of St Thomas Becket on December 29th so that it is merely a commemoration and thus effectively abolished. I know that Thomas Becket was a complicated man and his stands on some issues seem to derive more from a clash of personality with Henry II rather than being over real issues of the relationship of church and state (or that at least is what I gleaned from Warren`s life of Henry II back when I was a medieval history undergraduate), but there is no doubt that his cult became an important symbol of the liberty of the Church from state interference and as such this seems quite important in some ways today. (I wish someone had asked Cardinal Cormac Murphy O`Connor about that on the Today Programme today.)

I had thought of just celebrating the feast anyway on the grounds that as he is patron saint of the English secular clergy (who maybe share St Thomas` awkward streak at times) then he should have a mention in a parish run by the secular clergy. However I restrained myself as I knew I had the EF Mass later in the morning where his feast is still in the calendar for England.

7 comments:

Mark said...

Gosh, Father; I didn't know they could lawfully do that!

What reasons did they give for it? (None I think could justify it!)

ScepticalBeliever said...

The bishops can do anything they like. What matters is if they get away with it - and they usually do!
In the normal run of things the figures in authority are obeyed by the majority of, in this case, priests and so the bishops escape any widespread, or reported, criticism. The suppression of a feast is not, however, the worst we might charge them with.

Volpius Leonius said...

St. Thomas is simply not ecumenical enough I would imagine, perhaps his memory troubles some peoples consciences.

Where is his cultus to defend him against this insult?

"Ecce sacerdos magnus, qui in diebus suis placuit Deo. Non est inventus similis illi, qui conservaret legem Excelsi.

PP said...

After much protesting from the priests, in our diocesan ordo it has been (re)elevated to a feast! Most of us ignored the change anyway.

ScepticalBeiever said...

Thanks and congratulations to PP and his fellow priests. Ignoring a directive is a delightful way to 'cock a snook' at authority.

Mac McLernon said...

Strange. In the Ordo for Southwark (the Ordinary Form, not the EF) the 29th December is still a Feast...

Fr Michael Brown said...

Mac McLernon that is probably because Canterbury is in your diocese. Here is the new national calendar: http://www.liturgyoffice.org.uk/Calendar/National/England1.shtml#November