Sunday, 3 January 2010
Are the Bishops Due an Epiphany?
Happy Epiphany...apparently! It is in England and Wales since the Bishops of England and Wales took it upon themselves to alter the Calendar because we Laity are so slack at attending Holy Days of Obligation. My lady in Poland says it isn't Epiphany there and it will be celebrated on Wednesday as it will be I suspect in a lot of other countries where the Faith is still strong in numbers and Bishops. How odd our Bishops are in their ways and what poor faith they have in the Laity! I know that we can be slack, but hey, so can they and this is just one example.
I have certainly missed a few 'HDO's (perhaps how Holy Days were jotted down in the Bishops' Conference meeting minutes?) in my time as a Catholic, but not really ever on purpose. I don't recall thinking, 'Oh, its a Holy Day of Obligation! I'll watch this film instead. Cracking!' If I have missed one it has been more a case of 'Oh, there's a film on...That was good...Oh crap! I've missed Corpus Christi!' The longer I have been a member of our Holy Mother the Church, the more I am aware of when the Holy Days are and let's face it, there aren't that many. The reality of the matter is that if Bishops, instead of playing to the Laity's lukewarmness in faith and performing a radical X-Factor-esque public exercise in 'dumbing down', were stressing the importance of Holy Days of Obligation and reminding the Faithful that to miss Mass on such a day is a matter of grave and mortal sin to be brought to Confession, then Epiphany still might be on Wednesday, the 12th day of Christmas.
Let's remind ourselves of that mysterious 'Twelve Days of Christmas' song once more, for, apparently, 'on the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me twelve drummers drumming'. According to some random but rather excellent Carols website the 'twelve drummers drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed'. How ironic! We've got some cracking guitarists, we've got some zealous guys on 'keyboards' and bass and in Pope Benedict XVI one of the most inspiring lead singers in living memory, but where's the ****in' drummer! Drummers, eh!? They're always the ones who go AWOL, right when you flippin' need them! Without a drummer, every band sounds sh*te!
As it stands, my Christmas tree (however small!) along with my Nativity scene (however small!) and my Christmas decorations (however scarce!) remain in place until Wednesday, along with the rather beautiful 'Nativity' by Giotto which adorns my blog, along with my blog Christmas tree and Pope Benedict in Santa hat. Why? Because the Polish Calendar and, incidently, the Latin Rite Calendar, appears to be more faithful to the Tradition of the Church. How sad it is when the Faith in England and Wales is graced not with Bishops challenging the Priests and Laity to be faithful, but with Priests and Laity challenging the Bishops to be so! Our Blessed Lord said to St Peter, 'Feed my lambs, feed my sheep'. Some of Peter's sheep and lambs allow themselves to be fed. Meanwhile, some of his Shepherds just turn their noses up at the food and throw their plates across the kitchen like babies!
I dare say I am not alone in believing that this apparently cosmetic, peripheral liturgical issue is the tip of the iceberg. Quite how broad and deep is the base of the iceberg is left only to our imaginations. For if they cannot maintain the Traditions of the Holy Festivals of the Church, how can they be trusted to preach the Gospel and to guard as precious jewels the Teaching of the Church on any less apparently 'trivial' mattter. I don't know. Maybe the Bishops just don't like Christmas and thought they'd knock three days off for a laugh. Today, in effect, the Bishops have prematurely told us to stop rejoicing. Scrooges! Since when has a man ever increased the faith of others by publicly renouncing his?!
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