Church Militant And Church Democratic
By Peter Thompson On July 9 the biggest ordination of Missionary priests in England took place in Westminster Cathedral. Fortyfive students of St. Joseph's Missionary College, Mill Hill, were made priests by the Cardinal, who showed tremendous stamina by officiating at this four-hour ceremony just before going off to Rheims for the big ceremonies there, connected with the reopening of the great Cathedral.
Grey clouds all over the sky, a high wind and a taste of rain in the air:i some of the people who came out of Victoria station on Saturday morning, looked up at the sky disgustedly; but most of them were not concerned with the weather.
They walked quickly across the station yard in their polite clothes, carrying their umbrellas and their morning papers neatly folded, concerned only with thoughts of the office, or very practical problems like deciding whether to take a 38 'bus or walk across the Park. Perhaps some of them were dreaming of things far away.
Quite near them one of the important events in the history of England is being lived.
In Westminster Cathedral in the aisle before the Lady Altar a procession is forming. Not a very elaborate procession : a mace hearer, choir boys in purple cassocks, forty-five young men vested as deacons, and the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster.
Not Many People to Watch
The procession goes to the High Altar and the ceremony of the ordination of forty-five missionary priests begins. It is the biggest ordination of missionaries that England has ever known. Forty-five young men are about to begin their task of taking God to the world. From England they go forth. Not many people watch the beginning of their journey. The Cathedral is about one-third full.
Those to be ordained file into seats on either side of the altar and the Mass begins. Far away, in a distance which seems of height rather than of length, is the sound of the choir singing. The Mass is as an ordinary Mass until after the Gloria. While the Epistle is being read the candles which the ordinands hold are lighted. The flame passes slowly down the white rows of young men.
When the last verse of the Gradual has been read, the Cardinal rises from his throne, goes to the middle of the altar and faces the people. There he is seated while the Archdeacon calls by name each one of the young men who are to be ordained. They get up from their places, and in their white albs, girded, and carrying their candles and their stoles and maniples, and with chasubles folded on their left arms, they go and kneel before the Cardinal.
The Democracy of the Church In four lines they kneel. while the Cardinal asks the people, if these young men are worthy of ordination. His words— which arc the words of all Bishops since the Church was—are worthy of being set down in full for they express something of which we hear much these days and see little; " the true spirit of democracy."
"Dearly beloved brethren, as all on a ship, both the captain and the passengers
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