Friday, 19 September 2008

London Oratory Vespers.

I took an Anglican friend to vespers in the London Oratory recently, ( not on the occasion on which they were broadcast). Two things especially made a very great impression, in what seems to me quite contradictory ways. Firstly, she was extremely impressed with the way in which the liturgy was conducted, but who could fail to be. But what created the greatest impression was the sense of profound reverence. She stated that while beautiful vestments, wonderful music and dignified ritual are perhaps more common in the Anglican church, she had never before experienced such a sense of reverence, of simply being in the presence of God Himself.

On the other hand she could not help commenting on all the coming and going among the congregation, the people arriving late, moving seats, leaving when ever they felt like it, walking off to a side chapel to light a candle during the singing of the psalms, for instance. It was not a circus but she could not understand it. It was something completely unknown in her Anglican experience.

Also the shear diversity of the congregation, even in this bastion of English tradition, was very marked. We really are the Catholic Church.

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