Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. (Wittgenstein)
Thank you to all who took time to comment on my last blog on the ordinariate. After much thought, I've decided to withdraw that posting because I think it was untimely and yes, I admit it was a tad bitchy about the bishops' wives (it really was a very nice hat).
Blogging is an ephemeral and spontaneous medium. Those of us who do it shouldn't take ourselves too seriously and we need thick skins, but I don't think we should expect others to be equally thick-skinned, and we should avoid being unkind. I think I was unkind, and I'd rather write a more considered piece when time allows.
But there's something else. Those looking in from the outside tend to see the Catholic Church as more authoritarian and homogenous than it actually is. For some this is undoubtedly an attraction. But in reality, there's a chaotic abundance to Catholic life, and the mystery of the Church is surely bound up in that capacity to hold together so many millions of human beings across time and space in a shared communion that far exceeds all niceties of association and like-mindedness. If you can't cope with human mess and contradiction, this isn't the church for you.
But of course, one doesn't preserve that inclusive spirit by being mean and unwelcoming to those who want to join, whatever their reasons. There's room enough for all of us in this vast Catholic world, and we don't preserve our threatened and cherished diversity by refusing to accommodate those who think differently. The issues remain and the debates must go on, but for now, I've decided to take a quiet step back from it all.
Here are a few lines from Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem, 'Inversnaid'. Maybe they can serve as a prayerful metaphor for the continuing fecundity of Mother Church:
What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.
Difference is the very essence of God's creation. What abundant jubilation of life there is all around us, and how easily we funnel our own minds and spirits into claustrophobic tunnels of bigotry and judgement.