Thank you so much for your prayers; the gloom is lifting slowly but surely, very positive things have happened this week. I must however give a special thank you to St Anthony, we conversed in the Oxford Oratory last Wednesday, he reminded me it is all about total trust in the Lord...I have come to realise what "total" means. I had a meeting in Oxford and couldn't stay for Mass at the Oratory, but thank God for such a powerful place of prayer!
I've also been making a reply to the latest round of the Clifton Diocese consultation "Seeking the Face of Christ". Far be it for me to publish my views on here before they have gone through the correct channels, but it got me thinking about the Church and how we perceive it operating. Inspired by Adrienne and her Oreo model of the church faithful, I've come up with a few of my own.
The Fig Roll model: Firm, stable support from the biscuit, the Magisterium, surrounding us, the figgy goo. The problem with this is the "us" is a homogeneous lump of fig paste. The faithful resemble a dysfunctional family rather than a homogeneous paste so this model isn't quite right.
How about the mallow biscuit with chocolaty bits? The good, firm, solid base is Holy Mother Church, the mallow is us, the faithful, and the sprinklings are the chattering classes that think they are the church (uber traddies and tired liberals alike). The further they are from the biscuit bit the more likely they are to fall off. They need our support and prayers, but ultimately, they do their own thing, sometimes taking some of the marshmallow with them.
I have read a lot by people who think the people of the Church have to evolve rapidly, with new roles for the laity and a new perspective for the priesthood. This is something I find quite distressing, it smacks of people wanting to build the Church to their own design and ignore its heirarchical nature, the importance of obedience and the sacred nature of the Magisterium. I'm tempted to go with this "Battenburg Model". Firm yet flexible marzipan for the Magisterium, holding us all together. Priests and people as the different coloured sponges, each with their own identity (baked in separate tins but both nearly identical)and each vitally necessary for the Battenburg to look and behave like a Battenburg. Do the Bishops then act like the jam (I know they are also part of the Magisterium), holding the whole lot together yet keeping the roles and functions of the members of the Church strictly separated? Just a thought....