Friday, October 17, 2008

Have to do a paradigm shift.

In the last year, I have had a huge struggle getting to church on Sunday. The offerings at the hovel parish in the village is...well...let's just say, not very inspirational. (Except inasmuch as they tend to inspire in me a blinding rage and an almost irresistible urge to shout out "suggestions" from the back.)

I got a lift to the real Extraordinary Mass as often as possible. In this diocese we have what I like to call the Latin Mass Travelling Road Show where the Mass is held in a different church every week, in villages and towns all over the local area, none of which are accessible by bus.

In desperation, and with a strange sense of becoming spiritually anorexic, I thought hard about the options. No car means public transit. Which, on Sundays in the rural areas pretty much doesn't exist. That means moving. But this is England, and wherever you go, you're still in the same vast, thirsty and punishing wastes of English Novusordoism.

It also means that the only options are the cities, of which the local ones aren't all that inspiring: Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, the triumvirate that is associated quite justly with the Dark Satanic Mills of literature, and in my own memories with a monochromatic and soul-deadening greyness that crushes even the liveliest of spirits.

Other than that, we have London. Yes. Ah. Right.

So, Rome it is then.

The other day, I was looking at pictures of Solemn Vespers at the Toronto Oratory, a service to which I had grown quite devoted over the years. I found myself idly wondering if I would be able to get back to it in Rome.

Then I stopped, and shook my head.

"Hilary," I said, "it's Rome". The lean season will shortly be over. You will put a little spiritual flesh back on these starveling bones.

There are 900 Catholic churches within the Aurelian walls.

I mentioned my longing to return to Sunday vespers to a friend who lives there and he said, with what I think may have been studied casualness, "Well, St. Peter's might do."

Yes.

St. Peter's Basilica might do.