Sunday Nov 26th
To St Dominics' priory, Haverstock Hill: midday Mass. It took me a while to find the church, as I walked right to the top of the Hill, and the church is off on one side, in Southampton Road. I arrived in a bit of a hurry in case I was late, and slipped in by a side door....and then gasped as I wasn't prepared for the hugeness of it, and the great beauty of the sanctuary all glittering with candles. It was a beautiful Mass, lots of Latin, good music - a lovely Kyrie and Gloria, and the congregation sang Credo 111 turn-and-turn about the the choir (what's the technical term for that?) and there was something beautiful at Communion. The choir is excellent. A number of young families at Mass, but no running-about or shouting - perhaps something in the size and magnificence of the place dwarfs even the most wrigglly children ....There was a dear little family just near me, beautifully behaved, and at one point the small boy whispered "Is Jesus on the altar yet?" Afterwards, nice Dominicans in their white habits greeting parishioners: a pleasing scene.
Catholic newspapers....huge headline on the Scottish Catholic Observer saying there could be a change in the Church's teaching on contraception in some circumstances....various of the world's radio TV and newspapers have been pushing this one all week. If some campaigners (in Rome?) are trying to lobby for this, we can be sure that IMMENSE damage will be done. The SCO headline says it all. Here's a warning : even if what is suggested is merely a theoretical and technical statement which says that a condom could be used for non-contraceptive purposes, be sure that this will be used as a statement that contraception isn't always wrong, and this message will be widely promoted, endlessly publicised, and used to affirm that there has been a fundamental change and that Humanae Vitae is a dead letter.
I had left my bike at Wimbledon station and cycled home in gentle rain. It's the feast of Christ the King, a notion I have always liked. The origins of the Feast, though, have a certain panicky deperation about them - it was established in 1925 in the wake of World War 1 and somehow there is an echo of a devastated Europe and a sense of the Church trying to create some fresh attempt at an understanding of spiritual of order amid the chaos of abandoned monarchies and re-drawn national boundaries, with all of what was once Christendom licking its wounds after years of savage and vicious fighting, and preparing for the next round........