Tuesday, 20 December 2016

On going to church at Christmas

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As a boy I loved everything about Christmas except going to Mass. Now in middle age that's my favourite part.

All nice people with any profundity feel that. Though parsnips are nice too and brandy butter and point to points and watching the dear Queen.

A huge treat this year. Midnight Mass in the Orthodox Monastery of St John the Baptist in Tolleshunt Knights, near Maldon, where Mass is solemn yet in (sonorous, beautiful) English. Numinous. Lots of devout Romanian worshippers. Then Catholic Mass on Christmas morning with my family.

Had my father let me go to the Latin Mass in the next parish I am fairly sure I'd have kept my faith past puberty but he said my sister wouldn't like it. Unlike the one used at the monastery, the Catholic liturgy in English is a penance, though much improved by Pope Benedict XVI.

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