If the Lord spares me, I may post a number of comments on the remarkable week which many of us have just spent in Lourdes; the Society of Mary pilgrimage during which hoardes of Anglicans seemed to be taking over the basilicas of our Lady's shrine; a week during which I suspect that the numbers of those flocking to receive the Bread of Life at the hands of our bishops were far in excess of the number of Anglican pilgrims.
Two quite remarkable and iconic moments: firstly; the seminar room in which Cardinal Kasper and Archbishop Rowan Williams read their papers and tried to answer questions. I did not feel that either of them had anything useful or new to say about the current Anglican crisis; each of them seemed to feel that the agreements already secured under the auspices of ARCIC about issues in which few are terribly interested could be of value when new and vibrant issuies are creating new and acrimonious divisions. The erudition of the erudite twosome was interupted repeatedly by the malfunctioning electronic system which relayed instead the devotions elsewhere in the domaine of congregations praising the Mother of God, seemingly in every peasant patois known to Europe. I felt that a jocose Deity, or perhaps a Deity with a jocose Mother, was making a different point and making it rather well.
Secondly: the sight of Archbishop Williams prostrate on the uneven and damp rock beneath the staue of the Immaculate. He is successor not only of Augustine and Pole but of Cranmer (surrounded by his gang of foreign heresiarchs); of Manners Sutton (the avaricious pluralist who kept his sons and sons-in-law in the style of Whig aristocrats out of the inheritance of English Christianity) ... I wondered what these and so many other Archbishops would have said if they could have seen such a day. And Williams, too, a cleverer man than most of them!
What price now, the venom of the 'Reformation'; or the disdaign of the 'Enlightenment'. Peasants, shepherdesses, and Popery seem to have the last laugh.