I check in daily with the Anglican Journal, an "editorially independent" newspaper / blog in the Anglican Church of Canada. For the last few days the following was the lead headline, "British government grants licence to move body of Cardinal Newman."
Each time I read it I think to myself, what a strange business, the Government "granting license" for the church to exhume a body and remount the remains somewhere else. What is the Government doing being in this shifting of deck chairs? If the ship is going to make it to port, who cares if the bodies are shifted around. If it is not, shifting the bodies might seem to help, but in the end it may be in God's providence that all are lost after all. Why does the Government have to grant license to move the bones of Cardinal Newman?
Cardinal Newman is on his way to being Saint John Henry Newman, known as St. John Henry I suppose, which will make Americans laugh out loud, John Henry being a saint of another order. St. John Henry Newman is of course the Mad Priest's mirror, and his picture is on the MadPriest's blog, with the title, "MadPriest." But does that require either that his bones be moved for the proper veneration by the people? If so why is Government license needed?
We can hope moving the good Cardinal's bones will not disturb his gracious self. But I can't help feeling it is no good doing this. Where our bones are is nothing to be compared with the delight of where we ARE, now or then. Oh well.
The courts of Virginia are slowly grinding the legal grain and moving closer to trial between Truro Church and the Diocese of Virginia and friends in October. Each ruling in the run up to the trial causes wise ones on the blog to cast the runes and read the stalks concerning the implications for the trial outcome. The readings of the future are never very useful, for the simple reason that in matters of the Law, "it ain't over 'til it's over."
Each ruling gives rise to new cries from the realignment churches in Virginia that litigation cease. The cry to cease litigation is an odd one, given that there is no way in the world that the parent church offering sanctuary (Nigeria) will cease and desist in forming new congregations and convocations to the end that there will be a new Anglican Province in North America.
As I understand it, and I could very definitely be wrong, given the strange working of Virginia law, Truro claims the right as a congregation to determine its own future wider church affiliation when there has been a matter of division in the congregation. On the other hand Truro is willing to forgo it's congregational status in joining the Church of Nigeria which is an hierarchical church if there ever was one. If Truro were by intention congregational, then its alignment with Nigeria would be proof of intentions put aside. So in the midst of this lawsuit which posits the congregation's authority to divide and conquer, the same congregation is joining the Church of Nigeria which is not congregational at all. There have been some promises made that CANA can run its own show, but I wouldn't put much of a bet on that.
As with the moving of Cardinal Newman's bones, I wonder just why the Government of Viriginia thinks moving the bones of the church from one jurisdiction to another is any of its business at all. Should Virginia be granting license for a congregation to change its affiliation if in doing so that congregation loses the independent status that made it possible to claim congregational rights in the first place? I don't think so.
Well, the bones are in play. Poor ol' Cardinal Newman. No rest for the dead. And about Truro, who knows? It is a lively congregation it appears but pretty congregational. My sense is it will one day be a disappointment to the Church of Nigeria because too congregational.
Meanwhile, of course, Cardinal Newman is in God's hands, as is Truro Church, the Episcopal Church and as are we all. Checking in on the movements as things are shuffled around keeps some of us off the streets at night, but not much else.