Neil Addison, the barrister who is Director of the St Thomas More Legal Centre, came to speak to the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy at St Patrick's, Soho Square on Tuesday. These meetings now involve a longer journey for me, but the Javelin train gets to St Pancras in just under an hour and a half so it is not too bad.
Neil gave us good advice on various legal issues that are likely to arise now for clergy. One of the most important things he recommended was that any organisation or terms of hire should include a statement that we will not do anything that is contrary to Catholic doctrine. That is not a bad life lesson in general, of course.
After lunch and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, we had an open discussion on the Synod at which it was good to learn from the wisdom of brother priests. As well as the formal business of these meetings, it is valuable to be able to spend time in the company of other priests. At lunch I was next to Fr Jeffrey Steel whose conversion story I followed back in 2009, Fr Hunwicke was there to offer wit and wisdom, Frs Pinsent and Holden of Evangelium, and many others whom readers will know of.
Priests who agree on doctrine find it easier to be blunt to each other, so one good friend said to me that he had seen enough holiday snaps from Margate and would I please blog some more serious stuff. Point taken! Actually it has been a bit chaotic trying to settle into a new place and learn how everything works, but I think (please God) that the flywheel is beginning to slow from its peak. Nevertheless, in addition to more weighty matters, the holiday snaps will probably keep on coming - Margate is a great place and very photogenic. Today, for example, there is a glorious blue sky and I am now going to nip down to the harbour for a sandwich.
At the door of St Patrick's Church, I was amused to see this sign. It begins with a warning that is sadly commonplace in city Churches, advising people to take care of their belongings - but Fr Sherbrooke has a great twist at the end.