Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Ascension Day

I've just discovered that the Church of Rome on both sides of the Atlantic is celebrating Ascension Day next Sunday (the Seventh Sunday of Easter) and not on Thursday. I'm grateful to Fr Longenecker for having a well justified rant. I had realised both Rome and Canterbury had Sundayfied some other feast days but not Ascension Day for goodness sake. I'm somewhat relieved to see that in this respect Anglicans have for once got it right and kept to the time-honoured date.

OK there's only one biblical reference to the ascension occurring 40 days after the resurrection but it's one of the relatively few dates Christians don't seem to have squabbled about. So why change it except to dumb down religion so it can all take place in the God slot on Sunday? How very feeble. What next? Good Sunday?


Paulinus said...

SOME Catholics on this side of the Atlantic: Scots Catholics celebrate this great feast tomorrow.

Interestingly in Glasgow there is a University Mass (at Strathclyde University) celebrated by Archbishop Conti tomorrow night with the premiere of a motet composed for the feast by James MacMillan.

Bit far for you to come, I guess...

Stephen Wikner said...

I'm delighted - particularly in view of the new motet. (I'm a great admirer of James MacMillan.)It is a bit far but, rest assured, I'll be with you in spirit.

Ma Beck said...

I will be at Mass tonight at my parish.
I'm not a fan of "moving" feasts, nor is my pastor.
(Of course, Sunday, the NO Mass will celebrate the Ascension. It's not like he's making his own calendar.)
There's only one reason to move it - instead of allowing people to use their free will and commit mortal sin, the bishops moved the Ascension to Sunday. Because God forbid people have to go to Mass twice in one week!

Mac McLernon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fr. Dwight Longenecker said...

How can 'the Church of Rome' be on both sides of the Atlantic? 'The Church of Rome' is in Rome isn't it? I don't get it, or did you mean to say 'The Catholic Church'?

Stephen Wikner said...

Come on Father, you can do better than that.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker said...

Catholics are offended by the term 'The Roman Church'. Where I come from this is a perjorative term used by non-Catholics which is only one step away from 'the Whore of Babylon' and referring to the Pope as the AntiChrist.

Anglicans use it in a less inflammatory way, but in a way which is snobbish and patronising. Most Anglicans who I have heard refer to 'The Roman Church' will in the next sentence be referring to our church as 'The Italian Mission' or 'the church for Irish naavies and Italian waiters'.

Then there are other Anglicans who use 'The Roman Church' or 'The Roman Catholic Church' because they are making an ecclesiological point. They believe that they too are Catholic, and that the 'Roman Catholic Church' is just another branch of the same thing.

This is simply a fiction. Anglicans may do things in a Catholic manner, and they may believe a fair few Catholic beliefs, and if they do, then we rejoice in that, however, Anglicans specifically deny he essential elements that define Catholicism, and we know they do, otherwise they would become Catholics.

Tell you what, if you don't refer to us as 'The Roman Church' we won't refer to you as 'The Canterbury Schism'.

Stephen Wikner said...

My goodness we're being prickly. I was simply referring to that part of Western Christendom which acknowledges the primacy of the See of Rome. I could have said 'Roman Catholic Church' with precisely the same intent but I know that certain people don't like that either, preferring simply 'Catholic Church', which I didn't use in this context because it has a wider connotation than the one I wished to communicate.

I am of course well aware that Roman Catholics dismiss the claim by many (most?)members of the Church of England to be part of the wider catholic Church. I'm sure we're both familiar with the various arguments. What I find amazing (yes, and very sad)is that here is a subject - when Ascension Day should be celebrated - on which you and I Father agree and yet even here we are squabbling about how we describe one another!

No wonder outsiders look at Christians and either despair or contemptuously shrug their shoulders.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker said...

Sorry to be prickly, but you do understand Catholic sensitivities I've expressed no? And don't you agree that ecumenical discussions are more profitable when we speak frankly?

I think its a good sign if people can be sharpish from time to time without it being personal, and without it damaging a friendship.

In fact, I do rejoice in the fact that there is so much in which we agree.

All blessings,

Mac McLernon said...

Ok, come on... June is getting nearer. What news of the moggies?

Stephen Wikner said...

Hi Mac! No takers yet for moggies & I'm beginning to get a bit twitchy. I'm advertising all this week in the Cambridge Evening News and 10 local weeklies which at has at least prompted one call. The ad refers people to my other (single entry) blog site http://cathedralcats.blogspot.com

Prayers by one and all, please!!

PS Did I mention the reason I can't take the cats to Alton Abbey? It's not that they're mean, just that the Abbot recently took in a Devon Rex refugee. She was in a household of racist mogs who ganged up on her and the Abbot gave her sanctuary. On arrival at the Abbey she promptly disappeared - up the Abbot's chimney. I leave what was involved in the rescue bid to readers' imaginations. Given the colour of their habits, it's just a mercy Alton is not a Cistercian House. While I love my two chaps dearly, they're no saints and I have little doubt they too would gang up pretty effectively on any Devon Rex under the same roof.