Tuesday Nov 29th
Jamie off to talk to the Catholic society at the University of Kent at Canterbury, where the chaplain is the excellent Father Peter Geldard. Fr Peter was, in the late 1980s and early 90s, the leading Anglo-Catholic spokesman in the run-up to the debate at the General Synod of the Church of England on ordaining women as priestesses. He was a superb speaker, a knowledgeable and convincing man whose sincere faith and absolute honesty rang out clearly during the innumerable interviews in which he took part on radio and TV at that time.....in the end the female ordination vote was extraordinarily narrow-the debate was broadcast on radio and I recall listening to it in, of all places, the Catholic Central Library which at that point was just behind Westminster Catrhedral, at the other end of Victoria Street from Church House where the debaters were sitting.
After the vote, Fr Geldard remained true to his principles. But his understanding of the Church changed: "I had thought I belonged to a Catholic Church with some Protestant elements. I discovered that it was a Protestant Church with some Catholic aspects". He had been brought up - in an Anglican Church - on the Tridentine Rite Mass said in the traditional manner (a number of Anglican parishes still have it). He had always seen his role, and that of other "Anglo-Catholics" as returning the C of E to its full bond with the Catholic Church. "Now the scales, as it were, fell from my eyes". He became a Catholic - with no expectation, at that point, of ever being ordained. In fact even when he did, after some while, put forward an application for ordination, it got held up because the papers establishing his baptism were unusual - he was baptised in an emergency ceremony by a nuirse in the hospital when he was born, as it was though he would die.
I learned all this when I did an interview with Fr peter for THIS ROCK magazine, published by Catholic Answers in the USA.
I had a comfortable evening to myself at home, tackling a lot of letters etc, and then suddenly - while I was on the telephone, as it happened, in the middle of a rather important conversation, I suddenly sensed that something had happened on my computer....and yes, it had gone down. No emails. No internet access.
So I am writing this on Wednesday morning at Sutton Library - where one is allowed an hour on the computer but can plead for extra time (unlike the borough of Merton where no such indulgence is allowed - so it was worth the cycle ride to this neighbouring borough, which pleasantly and coiuncidentally is the one where I lived for the first half of my life and spent many happy years as a Borough Councillor....my books on local history are still on sale here in the library!).
This afternoon I shall meet Mother at Carshalton for our usual pleasant walk and then Tea at Honeywood Lodge by the ponds, where there is also a nice little gift-shop for saome Christmas browsing.. Then I shall cycle home....at the moment I am saying the Rosary as I ride, for a number of intentions notably the H. Father's safety in Turkey - I assume I am scarcely alone in that one - and Jamie will be home and we will have a computerless evening and I may even do some housework (I only ever seem to do any real cleaning and hoovering when allother options for activity are unavailable!).
Here it comes - a sort of strap across the front of the computer "You HAVE HAVE MINUTES BEFORE YOUR SESSION ENDS". Wrrrrghh.....