Today I enjoyed a tour round the South of England. After driving to Wonersh last night, I joined the community for 7.30am Mass and then spent the morning marking some exams and then going through them with Fr Dingley to check that we were marking fairly. This is a laborious but important task for those students who are taking the BTh degree.
A lunchtime drive along the A281 with a detour round Horsham took me to the Carthusian Monastery at Parkminster where I give a class on Sacramental Theology for the novices and simply professed. We nearly finished the section on the sacrament of Holy Orders today and had some good discussion on the question of the episcopate, the form for the ordination of priests (particularly the ICEL translation) and the theology of gender. It is very helpful for me to get a Carthusian perspective on various disputed questions in theology. As usual, I stayed to join the community in choir for Vespers which is a wonderful privilege.
It was exciting to hear that the paintings in the Chapter Room are being cleaned. These show scenes from the martyrdom of the Carthusians under Henry VIII. When they are finished, I will take my camera down and get some more photos. Here is one that I took last year:
Leaving at 4.30pm, I set the satnav to take me to Shoreham-on-Sea, the home of Fr Sean Finnegan, a fellow alumnus of The John Fisher School in Purley. He had some further things to add on the question of the theology of the episcopate which will be helpful in this summer's revision of my notes. It is always good to spend time in the company of another parish priest discussing matters pastoral, liturgical and theological.
Mercifully, the drive back from Shoreham along most of the length of the M23 and a quarter of the M25 was uneventful, getting me back in reasonable time.