All Souls

All Souls, as my more careful readers may realize, has been, for me, the anniversary of my first visiting a church, as a knowing Christian — forty-seven years ago. The good friend to whom I admitted this at the time (a great giant, red-haired atheist, with an Edinburgh education), died recently. Beloved Michael Berry, eight years older and in many ways wiser, had also listened in some amazement to my earlier account, of conversion; to my assertion that Christ had answered me when I pleaded with Him for a response, on Hungerford Bridge over the Thames, in London. I had now entered an Anglican church, and seemed to be relaxing into the polite, bourgeois life of the Church of England.

Mike, however, saw things differently. “If I had had your experience,” he said, “I wouldn’t be screwing about. I’d go straight to Rome.”

Well, this I did, but it was a quarter-century later. But Mike was right, rather as usual. Christianity, par excellence, is Catholic, and that is where the Christian is sure to end up, though perhaps not in this life. It is necessary, sometimes, to take a long view, when one is starting “a journey of a thousand miles,” or more: a dimensional change from what is temporal, to what is immortal.

To mark yesterday’s Feast of All Saints, Pope Francis published his latest denial of Catholic teaching, Ad Theologiam Promovendam (“to promote theology”). It proposes yet more of his “profound cultural transformations,” indeed a “paradigm shift,” that revises the statutes of the Pontifical Academy of Theology “to make them more suitable for the mission that our time imposes on theology.” It announces, in other words, an alternative dimensional change, from the eternal to the glibly temporal.

Patient Catholics must take the long view. Eventually this shameful pope will be gone, and Christ will yet again right the many inversions that revolutionists in His Church have effected; and we will formally return to Faith and Reason.