Saturday 27 December 2014

Bishop Harries, Islam, and the Purpose of Catholic Ecumenism in the World: Newsletter January 2015

Comfortable Accommodation: Bishop Harries and Islam

On 27th November 2014, the retired Anglican Bishop of Oxford, Dr Richard Harries, proposed in the House of Lords that the next Coronation include readings from the Qur’an. The next morning, on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he spoke of the Church of England’s “creative accommodation” and called for more acts of “inclusive hospitality” such as he had witnessed at a cathedral service to mark the beginning of the legal year. The High Sheriff and the Lord Lieutenant were in attendance and, both being Muslims, they had asked for the ceremony to include readings from the Qur’an. Lord Harries admired the solution – a Qur’anic reading immediately prior to the entirely Christian service. There had been “no blurring of the edges, no syncretism”; but, said Lord Harries, the Church of England should provide for “reciprocity” towards other faiths in a multi-faith urbanised city, and there should be “scope” for other religious leaders to pray at significant ceremonies in national civic life. He had no doubt that this would feature at the next Coronation.

Lord Harries was challenged by the Spectator journalist, Douglas Murray, who complained of yet more Anglican leaders without faith in their own faith, possessing no ability to make an exclusive faith claim about the truth of Jesus Christ. He observed that there was no “inclusive hospitality” in Islam – no Christians are allowed in Mecca, there is no “reciprocity” on the part of imams inviting Christians or Jews to Islamic religious events preceded by readings from the Bible. British Jews, he said, pray for the Queen and the defence of the realm every week – where were such prayers on Fridays in Britain’s mosques? Furthermore, if the Islamic scriptures are to be read prior to Anglican civic services, why not Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh scriptures; or, for that matter, secularist writings? Murray’s answer to the Bishop was that fuzzy Anglicans don’t want their leaders to be fuzzy: they want them to set out what Christian belief is, the faith that Anglicanism proclaims. Even if some individual Christians are unclear about it in their personal faith, they want their Church to be clear. What they do not want is bishops who affirm Muslims in their faith, but who demoralise Anglicans by not affirming them in theirs. A reading from the Qur’an at the Coronation in Westminster Abbey, warned Murray, would cause great offence to Christians.

By the same token it could never happen that a British civic religious event took place in a mosque, let alone with a reading from the New Testament, even if prior to it. Islam only endorses Islamic jurisprudence, even though it expects Muslims to abide by the law of a non-Islamic society in which they live. Thus the request for the faith of Muslims to be shown “scope”, “reciprocity” and “inclusive hospitality” in an Anglican cathedral is disingenuous, since the favour cannot be returned. Christians believe the Word of God to be the Person of God the Son made flesh, speaking through His Body, and His Church’s Scriptures. Islam believes that the Word of God is a Book, conveyed by Gabriel in Arabic without modulation to Mohammad, who is honoured as its unimpeachable prophet. It assumes Christians are likewise a “people of the Book”, but according to an earlier and lesser revelation. Reading the Qur’an in Church (something the Queen already allows at the annual Commonwealth Day service in Westminster Abbey) lends credence to this false view of the Christian Scriptures and makes a wrong impression upon Muslims who believe that their faith to be the pinnacle and fulfilment of all others. Lord Harries counters that, just because Islam in the United Kingdom has not evolved as far as Christianity in its understanding of other faiths and their sacred texts, it does not mean Anglican bishops should not do the right, tolerant and hospitable thing.

But what he has encouraged, both as a legislator-for-life in our national senate, and with all the teaching authority of one of the Church of England’s most distinguished bishops, is the conclusion by Muslims in Britain and across the world that the established Christian Church in England does not believe in the uniqueness of the truth about Jesus Christ and presents it as one faith among many. If so, say those Muslims who beleaguer Christians across the world, why not recognise what lies behind all religions – faith in the only God there is; and why not go the whole way and make your belief explicit with the Islamic profession of faith? Find peace in submission to this ineluctable truth: “After all, the Qur’an has been read out foremost in a cathedral service in England, so they acknowledge the ultimate truth of Islam. If they do not believe exclusively in Christianity, why do you bother to continue?”

It is wounding to think that a bishop from the comfort of retirement in England, after a lifetime of following Christ and serving in the Church’s leadership, is proposing the reading of the Qur’an in Church, especially at the anointing and coronation of our next king whose reign and government is meant to be patterned on the universal rule Christ, while in Iraq, Syria, Kenya and Nigeria, as well as many other places, even children and teenagers are bravely refusing to deny their love for Jesus by submitting to Islam at the point of knives and guns, thus accepting martyrdom rather than giving up on the Body of Christ.

Christian Witness in Interreligious Dialogue and Friendship

This is not to say that interreligious dialogue, friendship, solidarity and common action for peace, mediation, justice and the relief of need are not beauties that humanly unite all those who are spiritual people.  A hopeful aid to building peace and good relationships is “scriptural literacy”. This involves learned and devout followers of different religions meeting in mutual charity and respect, but without compromise to the integrity of each one’s belief, to discuss problems and disagreements by examining one another’s sacred texts. This not only heightens awareness of what each religion truly believes, but illuminates where all can bear witness to together - for instance the sacredness of human life from the womb to the grave, and the stewardship of the created environment. And who can forget the love and faith of those Egyptian Muslims who held hands to form a cordon around Coptic Churches to protect them from desecration by Islamists, or the shared lamentation of Christians, Muslims and Jews at the terrorists’ destruction of the shrines of the Old Testament prophets, sacred to all three?

Such close approach to one another furthermore involves a recognition that in each religion people honestly strive to respond to the deepest questions that human beings and their societies have to  deal with, questions that only faith and spiritual living can answer. This very point was made repeatedly by Pope Benedict XVI on his State Visit to the United Kingdom in 2010, especially in his Address to Civil Society at Westminster Hall. Pope Francis in Istanbul symbolised it too at the Sultanahmet Mosque, which he respected as a House of Prayer and where he stood in moments of silent adoration. We should likewise be strong enough in Christian faith to visit other holy places with the same respect, the same spirit or prayer and praise. But he was not saying, “it is all the same”; “it makes no difference in the end”. He did not remove his Cross, nor did he make well-meaning Westerners’ error of referring to the founder of Islam as “The Prophet”. That would be to accept what he and the Qur’an say about Jesus: that he was not Son of God born to Mary, or die on the Cross and rise again.

The way to the end is for God to lead us on and it is patently not “the same”. How God will lead us and others to union with Him is for Him alone to judge. Our task in the Church is to bear witness to the truth that has been revealed to us in Christ. The Christian knows that this is neither in a book, nor an institution but in a person: the Person of Jesus Christ who is Son of God and Word made flesh, true man and true God, the Light from Light that lightens every one. Islam does not accept this faith and denies that Person. It holds that the Qur’an supersedes the Scriptures of other faiths and corrects Christianity.

The right Christian response is indeed one of “inclusive hospitality”: respect, welcome, dialogue, friendship and inviting each other to join in the practice of the spiritual values that our religions give us to share. It is notable thus that the most telling defenders of Christian holy days and the school Nativity plays have been Muslims who demand that the officials preaching inclusion on ethnic, gender and racial grounds do not achieve it by excluding the religious. The wrong response is the unmeant respect of praying out loud in a Christian Church the Scriptures of a faith that does not share the Church’s belief in Christ. Paul Couturier in 1933, when he re-worked the Church Unity Octave, saw this clearly: Christian Unity is not just an objective for organising or projecting the Church better, it is about the unity of all humanity in the charity and truth of Christ. This comes about not through the “creative accommodation” of what you know by faith to be false, but by prayer that we will all be sanctified more and more by the God we adore. The holier we become, the closer to God we are drawn, the more at one in Christ we find ourselves. Thus when he launched the Week of Universal Prayer for the Unity of Christians, he imagined it like the Good Friday Liturgy’s prayers to include prayer for the sanctification of those who do not believe in Christ, as well as those divided among themselves in His Body. But mostly he saw that Christianity hides Christ by its division, since the Lord Himself had prayed, “Father, may they be one  so that the world may believe that it was You Who sent me.”

The Urgency of Unity in Christ’s Kingdom

For this reason, Christian unity and prayer for it are under repeated attack. One cannot help noticing that while a bishop calls for the “inclusive hospitality” of Islamic texts at significant ceremonies for which Anglicanism has responsibility, no such “creative accommodation” conducive to the union of all Christians with the Apostolic See of Rome - and not to its exclusion - has been facilitated by the final ratification of changes to the ordained ministry in the Church of England. This seemingly insurmountable block to reunion is a blow for all who have upheld unity in the Catholic faith, offering a convincing account of the hope that lies within us in the Risen Christ, as the true vision for the unity of all humanity in the charity and truth of Christ, especially in this Anglican land where the largest number of churchgoers is actually Catholic. The fading of the ecumenical dream of visible, organic unity is a blow to Roman Catholics as much as to Anglican Catholics alike, because as fellow Christians we ought to rely on each other for mutual strength and encouragement; and for the sake of the Gospel we cannot afford for our separation to loom so large as to obscure the glory of Christ.

So we press on, without relenting in prayer for unity in the Church because of the holiness of our union in Christ, but knowing that God maps out a path that for the moment we cannot see. For its part, our Catholic League recently sponsored the conference in London to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, especially the Decree on Ecumenism. The message from all sides was telling: we are tempted to give up and more easily go our separate ways; but years of prayer, and friendship and mutual theological learning have disinclined us to. No one part of the People of God can go it alone, as if it were exclusively the Body of Christ, and it is the essence of Catholicity to work as a countervailing force to wilful schism and as the impulse toward the truth that binds in one faith the Universal Church. So Catholicism is not Catholic if it operates as one mere movement among many. Its work is constantly to seek and to realise this Universal Church, the Church as God sees it from His perspective, the spotless Bride adorned for her Husband, inseparable from His Son. In other words, the supposedly failed Ecumenical Movement which has not led to the union we hoped for has still changed everything: the idea of the One Great Church cannot be avoided by divided Christians; everyone in honesty must know that no separate denomination is willed by Christ to serve as an end in itself, be it Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Protestant or Pentecostal; and the Catholic Church’s engagement with other Christians and Churches is not only a current commitment, it is permanently the way that the Church is. Providentially for now it seems that, if we cannot be visibly one, the important thing is to walk as one wherever and whenever we can. What is at stake is the direction of humanity – whether it is still to be enslaved by the market of human options that take us away from true choice, by the forgetting of the sanctity of life and by the relative weighing up of advantageous options, or whether to be captivated by the truth about God and humanity in Christ, and to live it even now in the Kingdom of Christ.

Can it be that, in moving together against the world’s injustices, resistant to the hatred of peace, and contrary to the abomination of desolation that hides the Devil’s lust for blood and death behind a religion, to the horror of most Muslims and perverting Islam , whose name derives from peace (the word Islam is related to salaam), we will render “One Lord, One Faith, One Church” visible to those with confidence in nothing? Can it be that in together meeting the need of the world for relief as well as hope, spiritual as well as material, even separated Christians will be seen at one with the Lord, and be convinced that it is believable the He was sent by the Father after all?

Some think that ecumenism is wishful thinking, “finished”, or even a harmful delusion. But the prayer for the Church of the Christians to be one so that the Lord may make Himself seen will not stop its echoing. The fact is that we have all died and been raised in Christ, we have all been given His Spirit; the Kingdom has been given to us and we have all been rendered blessed, in order to live in it. Thus we can either persevere in disunity, complicit with the world that is satisfied with one Church strained into many, and falling short of our blessedness. Or we can act on the capacity we have been given to place our Catholic faith and our Catholic Church at the indefatigable service of the “unity of all humanity in the charity and truth of Christ” (words from the annual prayers of Paul Couturier for the Week of Prayer). Now is not the time to despair of Christian unity or to disdain those who we feel are walking away from its objective. It is no harm to our integrity as Catholics to walk with them still, in firm conviction that our steps together will enable our leading by the Light that lightens everyone to the fullness of truth. For the sake of the salvation of humanity, and its true “creative accommodation” at the “inclusive hospitality” of the Celestial Banquet in the Kingdom coming on earth as in heaven, it is nothing less than our duty.

Fr Mark Woodruff, Priest Director

Wednesday 16 July 2014

God knows where the women bishops vote leaves Anglican-Catholic relations - Mgr Mark Langham, The Tablet - Blogs

15 July 2014 by Mgr Mark Langham            

The vote by the Church of England to ordain women as bishops changes nothing in its official relations with the Catholic Church. And yet it changes a great deal. It is to be noted that the decision in England only confirms a reality that has existed in worldwide Anglicanism since 1989. The Anglican–Roman Catholic dialogue has been dealing with the reality of women clerics since the 1970s, (early ordinations took place in Asia, North America and New Zealand) and so this decision in one part of the Anglican Communion changes little; indeed, a woman bishop from Canada, Linda Nicholls, is a member of the current Anglican-Catholic dialogue commission, ARCIC III.

But ecumenical relations are not just about cold theological facts. Progress in dialogue is built also on personal co-operation, on feeling comfortable in each other’s presence. And here the decision does create a problem. Anglicans can be frustrated by Rome’s concentration on what happens at Canterbury (or, in this case, York). In 1989, the then-Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, noted this fixation, suggesting that Rome had ignored “ the actual existence of women priests in the United States for a number of years … We have never tried to hide this.”

Yet among most Anglicans, the Church of England does have a sentimental position as “mother Church”, and the Archbishop of Canterbury is the “first among equals”. If anyone is a spokesman for Anglicanism, it is he, and accordingly Rome is right to take notice of developments in Anglicanism as they occur in the Church of England. The discussions leading to the 1992 vote for women priests occasioned a particularly frank exchange between Pope and Archbishop, and it was to a gathering of Church of England bishops in 2008 that the then-head of the Vatican’s ecumenical office, Cardinal Walter Kasper, gave his dire warning that the ordination of women would move Anglicanism away from Catholic orthodoxy and closer to the continental Reformed Churches.

Thus, this is a critical moment for ecumenical dialogue. Anglicans do not seem always to realise how difficult such a move is for Catholics. In 2009 Archbishop Rowan Williams tried to suggest that the ordination of women as priests is a “second-order issue” of mere canonical or juridical significance. ARCIC had previously argued that the question of the ordination of women is of a “different kind” to more serious theological issues. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith gave short shrift to these notions, asserting that the ordination of women is a doctrinal issue, intrinsic to the theology of priesthood.

Thus, it is true to say that hope of union has receded. There is no mid-point now between having women bishops and not having them. From speaking of unity, realistically dialogue now considers how two traditions, one of which ordains women bishops and one which does not, co-exist. The rug has been pulled from under those who longed for unity within the foreseeable future.

Yet ecumenists are upbeat; they have come too far, and weathered too many disappointments, not to continue to have faith in the movement. Ecumenism, they point out, is not a human construct, but a divine imperative. Wonders have happened; the Holy Spirit is not discouraged. At a time when, institutionally, we seem far away apart, faith in God’s will for unity has to be stronger than ever.

Mgr Mark Langham is Catholic chaplain to the University of Cambridge and was previously co-secretary to ARCIC III and an official at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Source: The Tablet - Blogs, with grateful acknowledgement
And see The Tablet's report on the General Synod's decision and the ecumenical implications here.

Thursday 10 July 2014

Priest Director's Address to the Annual General Meeting, July 2014

Let me begin by thanking Fr Graeme Rowlands for his hospitality at St Silas’, Kentish Town. It truly is a spiritual home for us in the Catholic League not only because of a constantly warm welcome here, but also because of the unshakable faith we share: whatever the obstacles and separation between the Church of England and the rock from which it was hewn, the Latin Catholic Church in communion with the Successor of Peter in his See of Rome, Christ founded only one Church, that it has no other creed but the Catholic faith, and that union is necessary because it is not in the nature of the Body of Christ to be divided and because He willed it on the night before He died.

On a number of recent home visits to North-west England, I could not help but concluding that the once confident Christianity as part of the fabric of society that I knew - Catholic, Anglican and “chapel” - had considerably collapsed in attendance, presence and confidence there. When I was growing up, Lancashire was a bastion of old recusant Catholic England still alive in the people, but it is difficult to trace its large significance in the region now in the same way it was once so obvious.  Other churches have suffered in like degree. I suspect the reason is that the churches have lost touch with the identity of whole constituencies of people, and the everyday lives of ordinary folk, especially the poor and working class. St Silas, a Catholic Anglican parish that had once been marked for closure, however tells the story of how such need not be so. The beautiful celebration of the liturgical and sacramental life, solid Catholic faith put into practice, and assiduous pastoral care by connecting practice of the faith with the life and experience of people through school, home and community makes for a vibrant worshipping community. And in truth and justice, the pattern is repeated in many places around the country, where the Church and its priests can truly present the image of the People of God as the true human society, a “still more excellent way” and alternative to what the market, the state, and “wider society” have to offer.

Instead of the Church accepting that it must conform to a pluralistic view of society and humanity, living as one choice on offer among many, with one view on morality in conduct both private and public, and giving in to the convention that religion is a private opinion, it is at its best when it presents not an exclusivist society turn in on its own preoccupations, but a reflection of the true order of the universe, and thus human society, in which Christ is king and all is to be seen in relation to that fact of existence, and paying due to Him as subject to His truth as teacher and rule as Master.

Among the objects of the Catholic League are not just concerns that we would describe nowadays as ecumenical, but that go to the heart of what human society is for and what it needs. Thus we are to promote the spread of the Catholic faith and the deepening of the spiritual life. In our day, “spiritual life” is not so much concerned with cultivating a private spirituality, as with keeping open the religious dimension in every aspect of life from which it is being progressively deleted: school, care services, public administration, social and cultural observance and, as Pope Benedict alerted us on his visit in 2010, the dialogue between faith and reason, religion and political or commercial activity without which no one receives a satisfactory answer to the deepest questions that our existence contemplates.

If public Christianity disappears in this land, largely with the accommodating acceptance of the Churches, what is to fill the vacuum? We have seen in a dozen instances in the last century what an un Churched or secular State offers us: World War I, National Socialism, the atheistic humanism of Marxist-Leninism and the resulting starvation of millions of Ukrainians and Russians; the Cultural Revolution of China; the Killing Fields of Cambodia; the emergence of states whose state economies depend on supplying the drugs trade rather than public and business virtue; the implosion of Arab secularism into false Islamism and blood-letting in the Middle East; the collapse of a common Catholic society among Tutsi and Hutu in Rwanda because of the coming of greed and corruption after years of Communism. The list goes on. To all of this the only answer is not medieval theocracy, but a society where God is worshipped, His law is kept and His gospel suffuses all our values. For this to be recovered - as recovered it must be if what comes next is not to disintegrate, leaving us nothing, no value, no principle, no truth to go on - it is vital for the Churches to stand out as manifestations of the other way of being human, and of being human society. And, again as Pope Benedict insisted on his visit, we offer no credible account of the hope that lies within us unless we are one. This is why my predecessor, Fr Brooke Lunn, said time and again that English society deserves to be served and led by one Church, the Church that unites and integrates, the Church that presents the faith that is Catholic.

But this is not only an English or European concern. Fr Fynes-Clinton, the Catholic League’s principal founder, looked to the reunion of all Christians when he placed the League under the joint patronage of St Joseph (for the West) and St Nicholas (for the East). Now, Christians in the East are under severe threat, and their very continued existence is under direct and violent attack. In June this year, no Mass has been celebrated in Mosul for the first time in over 1600 years, because murderous armed robbers and abusers of young girls, posing as Islamist jihadis, have driven them out under threat of forced conversion, or death. The founder of Islam, Mohammed, insisted there was to be no compulsion in religion and famously invited the Christians to celebrate the Eucharist in his mosque. But this means nothing to the materialistic terrorists who are destroying the lives, history, culture, property and patrimony of a mature Iraqi Christian-Muslim society, which was borne of the land of Mesopotamia, known as the “cradle of civilisation”. At this time of terrible crisis - and, frankly, our own helplessness in the face of what is going on - we need to learn from the East and to consider what may happen here in the West. How resilient are our protections to liberty, the positive toleration of religion and the recognition of its indispensable value? History reveals many times when the Church has been destroyed or exterminated, only to indicate new growth and renewal elsewhere, or later on. What is our sensation of decline in England in the present age in comparison with what is happening in Syria and Iraq? Will the Church grow in strength and renew itself? Christianity has never been overcome; is it to submit now? If so; what will succeed it for our society and the Church of the future? What we can say is that, the relativisation of the Christian religion and the proclamation of Christ’s Gospel and Kingdom as one option among many in the market will ensure it is left on the shelf. If we do not believe it is the Way and practise it accordingly, who will? It does not matter, then, if we are many or few – it does not depend on our effort, but requires our faithfulness and our witness to the universe as it has been revealed to us: with Christ its King, embodied in one People of God, related to one truth that alone can bind it, and fulfilling its purpose through choosing the only objective that can be arrived at without destroying it in the process - the coming of God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

In this task, I would like to thank especially Fr Christopher Stephenson for his work as Priest Director of the Apostolate of Prayer in which he encourages many of these themes to be expressed in intercession and devotion. I also thank my fellow Trustees in the work of the League, especially in the observance of its Centenary 12013-14. The celebrations were beautiful and adorned with fine contributions from Archdeacon Luke Miller, Dr Robin Ward, Father John Hunwicke, our President Fr Michael Rear and Judge Michael Yelton. Fr Miller's addresses on Fr William Congreve SSJE and St Therese of Avila at our centenary Festa in Walsingham led to the publication of a special edition of The Messenger including a moving version of the Stations of the Cross. All this stimulated interest in the League's history and respect for our work.

Furthermore, the distinguished Church historian, Dr Michael Walsh, is considering writing a history of the League that fairly appraises the Anglo-Papalists’ initiative in laying foundations for later Anglican-Catholic dialogue and their long-term contribution to the movement for Christian unity. He and I recently offered a joint session at the Third International Receptive Ecumenism conference in Fairfield, Connecticut, examining this history, the recent development of Ordinariates for those of Anglican tradition in the Catholic Church, the nature of Anglican patrimony and the future of the Anglican-Catholic engagement towards visible, organic unity. As for its prospects, it became apparent to me that North Americans are less concerned with historic European problems, and the Ordinariates viewed as a solution to them or as a possible threat to worldwide ecumenism. Instead, they see the positive potential for the Catholic Church to embed within itself something of Anglican tradition and liturgy, just as Anglicans have taken on other traditions, not least in a structural way in the past. The phenomenon of the Ordinariates they did not see as a further delineation of difference and mutual exclusion, but as a way in which Anglicans and Catholics could understand each other, feel affinity towards each other and be drawn together. For the main purpose to this they saw as to work together on much needed efforts towards common service of the aims of the Kingdom of God in the world, sustained by a faith shared more closely - so that the world might see that unity is possible, however difficult it may seem at present, and so that the world might believe from the concerted effort of the two Churches that it was indeed the Father who sent the Son who is visible in them.

Our Centenary Year has ended with a presentation to the Catholic Church of Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane. Adoration, of a monstrance bearing the League’s emblem and objects. The Church was founded by Cardinal Manning as a place of reparation for the offences and injuries to the Eucharist, the priesthood and the unity of the Body of Christ in England in the past. He had intended for it be the National Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament, where reparation could be made not through recrimination against history and the Protestantism of the English nation and constitution, but through an ever more intensified pouring out of love and devotion, towards healing, salvation and reconciliation in the one Church of Christ. Fr Alan Robinson, the parish priest, an old friend of Fr Rowland’s and mine, has been charged with the restoration of the Church and its work as a National and International shrine to the Blessed Sacrament. It had no monstrance worthy of the task for daily Exposition, Adoration and Benediction, something around which all Christians can be united regardless of the lack of fullness of communion. So the League has presented one, thanks to Fr Rowlands’ efforts, towards the church's restored role. Fr Robinson is to refound the Guild of the Blessed Sacrament, which will be an international fellowship of prayer for reparation, peace and reconciliation, sustained by the daily offering of mass and the Adoration that will be at the heart of the Church’s future work.

Since these objectives are very close to the aims of the Catholic League, and directly reflect work that we have done on ecumenical reparation and reconciliation in the past, following Pope St John Paul II’s encouragement of “the healing of memories” between the separate Church histories that still divide us as potential rivals, and mindful of Pope Francis own description of how Christians are united by martyrdom and suffering in the past through an “ecumenism of blood”, I hope that members of the League, Anglicans and Catholics alike, will be keen to enrol in the Corpus Christi Guild of the Blessed Sacrament and actively involve themselves in its future new work of prayer and reconciliation.

Monday 30 June 2014

Fr Graeme Rowlands presents the Monstrance to Fr Alan Robinson,
for the National Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament at Corpus Christi
Our Centenary Year has ended with a presentation to the Catholic Church of Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane, of a monstrance bearing the League’s emblem and objects. This is the last donation to a Church to promote the Catholic faith and the spiritual life through purchasing Eucharistic Vessels from the Tabernacle Treasury, a fund of the League's set up by Fr Fynes-Clinton, its main founder.