Fr Sam Medley was unable to get to Blackfen and give a talk, so the night before the Guild meeting, our founder Dylan Parry invited me to prepare a talk.
I wore a long, lace skirt for the talk, not because I wanted to prove some liturgical point about more lace, more grace. But because of the advantage of wearing a skirt: no one saw my knees knocking.
The theme for my talk was the follow-on effects of that which we write on our blogs. So, I spoke about the controversy in ‘real-life’ that my self-description of ‘I strive to go to the Tridentine Mass every day’ has caused. How people have got in touch with me asking me to take this fact off my blog. How people have told me that it offends priests who offer the Ordinary Form. How when I requested a place at the Vatican Blogmeet, I was contacted by several concerned people who said, ‘you’ll never get into the Vatican if you are open about going to the Latin Mass’.
I explained that sometimes, blogging can be harder than professional journalism. If a newspaper accepts something for publication, there is a sense that you have the newspaper editors behind you. But bloggers can be victims of ‘cyber-bullying’ because they are perceived to be acting on their own. I also pointed out that blogging can be a solo endeavour, whereas journalism is about working with editors who give you ‘revisions’ and you must draft and re-draft an article until it is acceptable for print.
During the question time, Karen Horn asked me which were my most popular posts, and I said that one on Padre Pio’s favourite painting of Our Lady. And one on St Anthony finding me lipstick! Fr Tim voiced a concern that one of his most read posts is one where he wrote about the grave wrong of a sex ed programme for children which aimed to teach them ‘sex games’. He said that he was in two minds about leaving this post on his blog because on one hand people need to know why this ‘education’ is wrong. Yet, he conceded that perverts might be looking up ‘children sex games’ and finding his blog. Dr Josephine Treloar pointed out that if the perverts find Fr Tim’s religious blog, ‘it wastes their time’ and time that some perverts would spend looking up sex games for children is spent reading Fr Tim’s religious blog.
The best part of the day was meeting other like-minded bloggers who were very passionate about using their blogs to give the gift of faith to others. For the first time ever, I met Mulier Fortis, Linen on the Hedgerow, Bones, A Tiny Son of Mary and On The Side of the Angels.
The day ended with the recitation of the Rosary in the chapel. Fr Tim reminded us that a plenary indulgence is attached to publically praying the Rosary.
Afterwards it struck me that the Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma and the successful guild meeting that we had just had, is very much a fruit of the 2007 Motu Proprio.
On Saturday morning, all us bloggers assisted in a low Mass, and there was no talk about whether this was ‘disobedient’. The Guild is open to all Catholics who use the new media, not just bloggers, but most of us present on Saturday attend both ‘the old Rite’ and the new. I gave a talk on the fact that some people have said to me that ‘it’s dangerous’ for me to write that I go to the Latin Mass, and that some have said that it will damage my ‘employment opportunities’. But the assertion that the Old Mass is divisive and that people who attend it are Catholic misfits – is becoming more irrelevant. We have had nearly five years to appreciate that Pope Benedict clarified that the Tridentine Mass ‘was never abrogated’, or ‘banned’ as at least two generations of Catholics thought.
Not to sound like a 27 year old octogenarian, but I remember the pre July 2007 days when Catholics who attended ‘the Old Rite’ and Catholics who attended ‘the New Mass’ were quite segregated. One side would call the other ‘liberal’ and ‘lacking in reverence’ and the other side would call the other ‘disobedient’ and ‘anti-Pope’. Now that the ‘old Rite’ is celebrated freely, such ‘sides’ are disappearing and there is more unity among Catholics.