Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Anglican ructions - what would St Wilfrid say?

My friend and neighbour Fr Hunwicke is in fine fulminatory form on his blog about the proposed Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda. You can read his post here.

He is not alone in his views - nothing surprising in that - and Bishop Edwin Barnes, Ancient Richborough, has had some good posts on the relevance of the `Sacred Synod' and related matters. The main points can be read in sequence here,here,and here. I am very pleased to see his citation of the work of the Bishop of Ebbsfleet.

Chichester Cathedral - photograph by St Wilfrid's Bognor Regis

I too have doubts as to there being a very positive response to the Society from St Hilda, and certainly not from St Wilfrid, who was, let's face it, a Romaniser. To invoke his aid in the cause of a society that is " well, sort of, but not really, well, no, really, not actually Roman" is an insult to him and his entire career and also to historical scholarship. If the Synod of Whitby is to be used as a precedent let it be cited for what it decided - the unity of the practice English church with that of Latin Christendom, and all that implied about ecclesial unity. Indeed St Wilfrid might well consider the Ordinariates a bit dubious, but would see their essential commitment to unity. This new, misnamed, society looks more like the Celtic party who insisted on their calendar calculations and practices - Non-Jurors or Old Believers of the seventh century - who left the synod of Whitby unreconciled.


Image from St Wilfrid's Catholic Primary School, Ripon

St Wilfrid and St Hilda pray for the Catholic faith in England.

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