24 July 2010

Country walking ends

Dutiful and devoted readers will recall that Ickford was only a couple of miles along the River Thame from the recusant centre at Waterperry. Ickford church has a number of monuments to the Phillips family, who seem to have oscillated between being Recusants and Church Papists. Fr Thomas Phillips, in the first part of the eighteenth century, joined the Society of Jesus; I feel he was a man after my own heart, because he developed a great love for teaching the Humanities. When his superiors refused his plea to be allowed to teach a course in that subject, in a fit of pique he left the Society and acquired the patronage of King Charles III. The King secured him a canonry at Tongres and a dispensation to apply its income to his work in the English Mission. He ended his life chaplaining in great Catholic houses, such as that of the Earls of Shrewsbury; among his works was a lengthy biography of Cardinal Pole. Perhaps we could see him as a link between the dangerous recusancy of the seventeenth century and the first glimmerings of the catholic revival which was to happen in the nineteenth; and as a precursor of learned gentleman clergy such as Lingard and Tierney and Oliver.

Well, it was a very jolly walk that Pam and I had, despite the bulls; I wonder what those celibate clergy over there get up to on their days off. A friend of mine in the clergy of Kerry tells me that when his confreres meet, cards, nicotine, and whiskey feature large. Doesn't seem to me as much fun as matrimony.

5 comments:

Anglican said...

Can Fr. Hunwicke clarify a point? If he became a priest in the ordinariate, would he consider himself to be a 2nd class, inferior, priest because he was maried? Rome allows ex-Anglican priests to be married, so the celibacy rule cannot be a matter of theology, but can only have been introduced for pragmatic reasons (and could be rescinded).

This point puzzles many who are sympathetic to the ordinariate, but are unhappy with Rome's rule of celibacy for most of its priests, which did not exist for over 1000 years in the Church.

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...

No way would married priests be second class. I share Bishop Edwin's view that married clergy are part of the Patrimony. However, the historical evidence in favour of Celibacy for clerics in major orders is a great deal stronger that Anglican implies.

Joshua said...

Celibacy ought be viewed as a positive, not a negative. I believe Our Lord in the Gospels did commend certain counsels of perfection, this being one of them...

fieldofdreams2010 said...

Of course celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom is a positive vocation- but so is Matrimony wherein is represented the union of Christ with his Church. The best vocation for any individual is the one God has actually given him or her. The Latin Church has a policy of normally calling to the priesthood only those who have shown a vocation to celibacy, but is entitled to make exceptions. The Eastern Church has a different policy, no less legitimate. We really should not big up either vocation at the expense of the other, but I am entirely with Fr Hunwicke on the pleasures of a country walk with one's wife over whisky and tobacco!

Ignatius said...

As Paul VI said, 'There are many excellent married priests in the Catholic Church.' Married priests are not second-class clergy - married life brings with it sacrifice and joy just as much as celibacy. The sacrifices are slightly different but still there.

Celibacy, nevertheless, is a gift from God to His Church, not some rule imposed by Rome as many, unfortunately, see it.