....there is a good article in the Tablet. Unfortunately I can`t give a link to the article as the Tablet requires a print subscription before the on-line version (apart from a few articles) can be viewed. However, the title of the article is `Jewels snatched from the liturgical crown` and it is by one Mike Knowles, a former lecturer in the philosophy of religion and sociology. The synopsis given is incorrect as it says:
`For the first time this year, the Feast of the Epiphany will be celebrated in England and Wales not on the old established date of 6 January but on the nearest Sunday.`
This is not true as all holydays in England and Wales have been governed by the rule until recently that if they fell on a Saturday or Monday they were transfered to the nearest Sunday. The Epiphany has been moved to a Sunday before when January 6th has been a Saturday or Monday. However the rest of the article makes some very good points. One particularly annoying aspect of the new rules is that Ascension will not, despite what Scripture says, be celebrated forty days after Easter. Mr Knowles writes:
`The fortieth day is not the "nearest Sunday available" but the fortieth day after the Resurrection. That is the tradition. The bishops, as successors to the Apostles, are in office to guard it, not dispose of it.`
Tonight I am going to a clergy dinner at St Cuthbert`s Kenton, hosted by Fr Lawrence Jones. He wants to celebrate the real Twelfth Night. A few years ago he hosted a similar event in defence of the feast of St Thomas Becket, patron of the secular clergy, which had been abolished as a feast day in the shake up of the calendar for England and Wales. This move by the authorities would have warmed the heart of Henry VIII who made the destruction of the saint`s shrine at Canterbury one of his priorities in his break with Rome!
Mr Knowles ends his article:
` The tree of the Church in England and Wales is ageing, stunted and declining but this decision will starve the roots even further.`
Well said Mike Knowles!