At OSP yesterday for the ordination of Fr Simon.  It is always nice to see how others do things and I’ve never been at OSP for an ordination before for some reason.  I think that deep down I knew it was going to be a marathon, and I wasn’t wrong.  And you’d be hard pressed to spot Simon in the sanctuary for the amount of clergy and servers that were there.  Lovely choir – with trumpet – Oh how I want a trumpet player in my church – doing Widor which I’ve heard before but don’t know well. It was suitably important.

We clergy had our own server to keep us right because visiting clergy and notoriously badly behaved. As ever we get the best seats which always seems to be a little unfair really. Somehow I think we should get the worst seats but there you are.  In St Andrews Diocese, where I was ordained (by two bishops no less!) we didn’t do prostrations and I’ve always felt a little cheated by that.  There is something so completely sacrificial and … and… what do I mean?  Oh I can’t think but it reminds me of Audrey Hepburn in the Nun’s Story.  And whenever you lay hands on someone you can’t help but remember your own vows and how they’re holding up.  Hmm.

Lots of lovely hymns – and I mean lots – all very catholic and two that I’ve only heard on Walsingham CDs.  Communion in bread only which we all dipped our mucky paws into a ciborium for, which seemed a little weird.  Oh and it was a concelebration which I don’t think I’ve ever done before.  I do, however, have very upsetting experiences of observing concelebrations so that is always difficult.

All in all it was a lovely day. Lots of familiar faces. Surprised, nay shocked, to see some servers not in shiny black shoes.  Tsk tsk. And I had an opportunity for a little witness on the way home with the drunk woman who insisted on sharing my taxi.

24 thoughts on “Ordination

  1. I can quite understand your ambivalence due to experience of concelebration but when it is done well (not as a gimmick), it is a powerful sign of the unity of purpose and sacramentality of the Church. It can also be a powerful corrective to the sense of loneliness and isolation that the catholic minded Anglican priest often feels. My ambivalence is that it seems to be rather for the clergy than for the people because no one ever tells the punters why it’s being done and what the significance is.

  2. Can you say that concelebrations at Walsingham are a powerful sign of unity of purpose and sacramentality of the Church? It made me feel terribly lonely and isolated as I stood on my own, unable to take part.

  3. It seems to me that whenever there is a concelebration where some priest is excluded or a concelebration where any priest, for whatever reason does not want to participate, it is, by definition not a sign of unity of purpose nor a sign of the sacramentality of the church.

  4. No, I can’t say that. I have always found them a powerful experience of unity and diversity because the question was never asked if I was FiF or Aff Cath. But then I’m not a woman and I acknowledge there is a terrible dichotomy in that particular context. The best that can be said is that it is a powerful but imperfect sign etc.

  5. coming late to this: I can’t bear concelbration either.

    I think we everyone in the assembly is involved in the celebration, and that we only need one priest to focus that. I enjoy it when I am in that role, but don’t feel less involved when I’m not.

    I experience concelebration as a wall of clericalism, and hate it further because it always seems to smother the flow and dynamics of the eucharistic prayer, as everyone tries to chant in unison without hesitation repetition or deviation.

  6. A priest wearing his priestly clobber when he or she is not presiding or preaching is like a chef wearing his chef’s uniform when he or she goes out for a meal.

    It’s vanity, it says something very unchristian and it’s plain wrong. I never do it and neither should you.

    You have been told.

  7. MP, so when you are invited to attend and robe do you ignore the invitation? Could have done with a chef there, mind you, with a pair of tongs to remove the Body of Christ from the Ciborium.

  8. Yes Kimberly, I can see that and I have to say that makes a level of sense to me. The logic of MP’s stance also makes sense. I suppose robing if you have a particular role or function but not if you haven’t has a degree of integrity. But the dog collar is as much a sign of membership of the clerical caste as a cassock alb or stole, so mufti might be the most logicical option. OCICBW.

  9. I am not embarrassed about being a priest, Father Dougal, any more than a plumber would be embarrassed about his skills and I don’t mind wearing a badge advertising my services. I just don’t think I should receive special privileges in excess of my contractual ones.

    A dog collar is a badge (how other people react to it is their problem). A robe is a piece of functionary clothing, like a chef’s work clobber. We wear robes to emphasise the specialness of the sacrament. If we wear robes when we are not directly servicing the sacrament we are claiming the specialness of the sacrament for ourselves.

    None of this applies if you have a low view of catholic liturgical practice. But Anglo-Catholics really should have more respect for the liturgy of the church and the theatrics that go with it.

  10. Might we just note that members of the clergy of the Church of Scotland were present and invited to join the other clergy at the altar and behave as their conscience permitted them. (At least, I think that was their instruction).

    The two of them were wearing impressive frock coats.

    Both their orders and their dress seem to me to be contingent upon this conversation.

    If “dog collar or mufti” might be held to embrace the wearing of frock coats, I might be interested.

  11. Yes, its those special privileges that always make me feel uncomfortable. I mean, why should the newly ordained priest’s family be 5 rows back just so the clergy can get the best seats? I mean, its not like we haven’t seen one before.

  12. Kelvin, I think the wearing of a frock coat goes hand in hand with the attendance at Garden Parties with or without the Queen in attendance. But it certainly involves being rained upon and eating very small food. You have been warned.

    Mind you, they are very flattering to the figure…

  13. Kelvin, when I was a lad Bishops, Deans and Provosts wore gaiters, aprons and frock coats. Canons had roses sewn on the front of their hats and Bishops had top hats with strings. Clerical evening wear was silk frogged tailcoats (purple for Bishops, black for others) with knee breeches.

    You were born too late!


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