As Christmas approaches and you look for suitable presents along the shelves of 'Church' bookshops: a word of advice. Shun the shelves labelled 'Celtic'.
Historians have decisively abandoned the concept of the 'Celtic' and especially of a supposed distinctive 'Celtic Church'. In the most recent major scholarly work on this subject, Professor Charles-Edwards' Early Christian Ireland (Cambridge, 2000), the distinguished author writes dismissively of 'that entity - beloved of modern sectarians and romantics, but unknown to the early Middle Ages - ''the Celtic Church'' ', and surveys in a footnote the scholarly work of the last thirty years which has established this.
'Celtic' is the sexy religious thinggy because the 'Celtic' saints are distant figures in the past who , when they were alive, were rather combative old people but pose no particular threats to us now because they're in books and so they can be moulded to our own fads by suppressions and misrepresentations. And because 'Celtic' Christianity is in the past, people with hangups about the actual real Christianities available in the present day can invent their own 'Celtic Christianity'. Commonly such DIY constructions are all about being rather Mystical in pieces of remote and beautiful countryside, and about being 'close to nature'. If you are tempted to buy their books, check carefully whether the contents actually are sourced somewhere ancient or are merely the author's own compositions 'in the Celtic Spirit'.
If the 'Celtic' industry really had any serious interest in the Christianity of the 'Celtic fringe' during its first millennium, they would be rather keener to revive use of the earliest surviving Missal from these islands, the Stowe Missal, which dates from the 790s and is of southern Irish origin. I published a little academic something on it a few years ago. Its Eucharistic Prayer is almost entirely identical with the current Roman 'First Eucharistic Prayer', except that it contains rather more saints and describes the Pope as 'thy most blessed servant N our Pope, Bishop of the Apostolic See'. It has a lovely Prayer of Humble Access, so much more mystical and uplifting than Cranmer's, which includes beautiful phrases like 'I am unworthy because I filthily adhere to the mire of dung and all my good deeds are like a rag used by a menstual woman'.
I wonder if there would be any takers if I advertised and put on a Demonstration Celebration of it in S Thomas's?