onsdag 14 oktober 2009

Relics row continues

The visit of the relics of St Theresa of Lisieux continue to provoke anti-Catholic articles and comments. There was yet another on the subject in today's Guardian, with a string of mostly approving comments. Much of this is just Britain's Calvinist legacy on display - good old Paisleyite prejudice dressed up as liberalism. It is strange how a few old bones can get people's backs up so much, especially with those who affect disbelief. If it is such a load of nonsense, why not ignore it? Instead, these people just give it the publicity which presumably they believe it does not deserve, thereby helping the cult to serve its intended purpose.

As a Catholic who does not do relics and was never particularly keen on St Theresa's style of spirituality, I had no intention of going to visit them, but thanks to all the comment in the British press, such as the above article, I changed my mind and went to Aylesford where she was on display last weekend. Contrary to my expectations, I found the event worth while and a good sermon was preached which you can listen to here

What can be seen looks like a scaled-down mausoleum - say about 1:50 - with a barrel roof and fish-scale roof slates made out of some veneer, in the late nineteenth century French chateau style - a fine piece of craftsmanship, protected these days by a perspex cover. It is in effect a portable shrine. A full-sized version would look quite impressive on a low mound in a spacious park setting.

Many saints have a following and people like to visit their shrines. There are usually a few pilgrims around St Brigit at Vadstena in Protestant Sweden, where even King Gustav Vasa did not dare to get rid of her. Funny, the Swedes don't seem to make the kind of fuss, probably because Calvin never had much of an influence in Lutheran Scandinavia and they don't get so worked up. It is always good to know where one's prejudices come from, but thanks for the publicity anyway.

The Haj starts on 25 November so presumably we can look forward to a spate of articles about people flying thousands of miles to worship a lump of rock thought to be a meteorite. The response should be interesting.

1 kommentar:

pelerin sa...

Thanks for pointing us to today's Guardian site. The comments are indeed well worth reading - both the for and the against make some interesting points.

The subject of the Church making money from such things always seems to emerge and I am glad this was put right.

After visiting Aylesford I decided to go up to Westminster Cathedral on Monday to wait for the arrival of the Relics there. During the long wait everyone chatted quietly at first until the Mass was broadcast on the big screen erected in the piazza. We all
knew that we had a common bond of Faith and conversation came naturally. I chatted with a Philipino lady and another from West Africa. Yes our legs were hurting but we were all determined to wait as long as necessary.

The moment of the arrival was truly wonderful. Darkness had fallen and officials with lamps stood outside the Cathedral as the hearse pulled up. Spontaneous clapping broke out and the African ladies present gave their yodel- like cry of welcome which must have reached across the road.

I was able to spend longer this time within sight of the Relics in the Cathedral. And still nobody asked me for any money! Those who say that the Church is making money from such events obviously don't experience them!

Well done for joining in the comments on the Guardian site.

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