Two of my favorite comedians are Irish. Both as a rather unfortunate aside are very anti-Catholic.
This is something I will never understand. I don’t understand the history of what has gone on that could make the Irish hate the Church more than the hundreds of years of propaganda could make the English hate the Church? Maybe that is a good thing that I don’t know?
Walsingham is so gloriously English, it has this feel, of how England would have been if strange twists of fate hadn’t conspired to make England perhaps the foremost protestant country in the world.
There is an Altar in the Anglican shrine, that is made out of stone from dissolved monasteries and smashed altars. I think the Anglican shrine is the most amazing bridge for Catholics to appreciate that Anglicans have a Catholic heritage and that everything that is good about Anglicanism is truly Catholic.
Hopefully, God willing it will also be a bridge for Anglicans to cross the Tiber, not least the shrine itself, that really now has no theological excuse not to… There is a statement on their website which says they are thinking about it, if it were down to me it would make me the happiest man and I would say it would quickly become a beacon of Catholicity within the English RC Church just as it is within the Anglican Church that has theologically rejected them.
I love the Anglican shrine, its what Catholicism in this country should be like… I go to Walsingham and frankly head directly to the Anglican shrine and it brings me to tears, I don’t even know why the Catholic shrine calls itself a shrine, because it is a barn.
The slipper chapel is lovely, there is certainly nothing wrong with that. I’ve attended mass there a few times now and it is fantastically intimate, made all the better for ad orientem Mass.
But the Anglican shrine is what Catholicism would have been like in this country had history not taken a disastrous turn of events. The divisions and wounds are opened every time I go there, I see how Anglican and Catholic could have been one and the same thing, and it hurts, but I guess it is the pain of hunger.