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.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

A fixed date for Easter?

The recent comments by the
Archbishop of Canterbury about his hope of seeing a fixed date for Easter - probably the second weekend of April - established within the next ten years or do has attracted headlines in some of the press, and comment from others.

There has, of course, been provision in British statute law for a fixed date since the 1920s once agreement has been reached with other denominations as to the date.

The Vatican has since 1990 accepted the same principle as to the date.

Talking to an acquaintance of markedly Traditionalist opinions who argued that such a move would lead to a split in the Catholic Church, with people like himself insisting on celebrating Easter on the traditional/Traditional date makes it clear that such a move would quickly become contentious.

Such a split occurred with the abandonment by the western Latin church, and, eventually its estranged Protestant children of the Julian calendar in favour of the Gregorian reform in 1582 and subsequent years ( in Britain in 1600 in Scotland, in 1752 in England and Wales ), whereas the Orthodox still retain the Julian system.

Bede's account of the problems addressed by the Synod of Whitby in 663 might then become not just a matter of past history but of contemporary controversy.

Personally I am inclined to doubt if such a move will happen given the existing East-West divide on the issue, let alone more local difficulties.

I also doubt if it should happen. We have successfully managed this far with a moveable Easter, and that adds interest to the year, depending upon whether it is early or late. Bowing to external pressure for change to a settled date would be to agree to the secular agenda of the world, not to challenge it by having Easter when the full moon falls in accordance with the Biblical calendar.

1 comment:

MS said...

The prospect that we might see Anglican Old Kalendrists testifies to the prophetic power of Francis Wagstaffe.