Thursday, 9 January 2014

Archbishop Warlock and me

Readers may be aware I am a "revert" to the faith.  After a somewhat lacklustre start and no parental encouragement, I finally found "my home" with the aid of my late husband who raised me de stercore and put a somewhat aimless, underemployed reprobate on the path that has filled her with so much joy.

In my years away from the faith, one figure stood out as a figure that kept the church attractive to me and that is the figure of Archbishop Warlock.  He was visible, he was pastoral, his work with the Anglican Bishop David Sheppard seemed so very important.  Liverpool was going through a torrid time but these two figures seemed to do something very important, something cohesive and something that visibly showed the love of Christ for people.  I knew nothing about the faith, I knew nothing about Warlock, but the office for which he stood and the pastoral care the media portrayed him as having for his flock stood out for me as significant  Christian witness.

In the mid 1990s, with diminishing funds and the need for full-time, honest employment, husband and I took a trip to Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.  I found myself praying for work in the little side chapel of St Joseph where Abp Warlock is entombed.  Now I knew enough about the faith to know that praying to St Joseph for employment is a common and effective thing to do. I myself prayed before the tomb of the late Archbishop, I simply felt a connection to him and prayed before him.  Two weeks later, I had a job in a Catholic school within the archdiocese.  I'm just telling you this.  Don't please read any more into it than the bare facts.

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I'm increasingly getting people asking me about the faith because they find Pope Francis so attractive in what does and the cheery manner in which he does it.  They are not avidly reading every last thing he writes, but they see his witness and it is attractive.

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I am not comparing Abp Warlock to Pope Francis in any way other than to say that highly visible Christian witness is vital in bringing people into the true Church, and when it comes from the shepherds of the flock it has a terrific potency that I believe is attached to the office and not to the man himself.

So, there you have it, Abp Warlock applied the jump-leads to my faltering journey of faith that has brought me to be the Tridentine Mass loving, theologically conservative nutter who posts on this blog. If you know nothing about him, I'll leave you in ignorance.

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I wonder if it is worth pointing out that the statue of the saint before which I prayed prior to gaining my current employment recently self-immolated.

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