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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

With priests in Exeter

Exeter 036
North of the Cathedral Green

There is already a Western district of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. For those who think that Salisbury is so far east as to be almost on the outskirts of London, it was a problem finding a name. Currently they are the far-West district. (Someone suggested it should be "Wild West.")

Yesterday evening I rattled out of Paddington down to Exeter (we certainly rattled on the fast stretch from Reading to Taunton) to stay overnight before giving a talk this morning to the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy in that part of the world. Sixteen priests gathered at the Catholic Chaplaincy of Exeter University, with a good representation from the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham as well as priests of the Diocese of Plymouth. I was given the title "The Liturgy: Reform or Return?" to which my answer was essentially "Return" though I concentrated (or at least tried to) on the celebration of the modern rite and how the traditional liturgy can inform this.

One important point raised in the discussion afterwards was the loss of the Ember Days and the liturgical reference to the solar cycle. This is meant to be a part of the calendar still but the "Cycle of Prayer" which replaced the Ember Days is scarcely noticed nowadays.

Fr Dylan James organised the day and we were hosted by Fr Michael Wheaton and an great team at the chaplaincy, including a young woman who has just completed a PhD on Tertullian. It sounded really worth publishing in a more popular "de-PhD-ed" version and I hope that she does publish a book to communicate the results of her research.

Lunch was faggots, mash and peas with gravy. Fr Wheaton explained that faggots were the original English fast food, pre-dating fish and chips. He also urged what I think was a point of morality (though Fr James might know better about this as a moral theologian) that we should eat the whole of an animal, offal and all, and not just the posh cuts. The ones we had were made by a local butcher of some renown and they were absolutely delicious.
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