Friday, May 18, 2012

1980-93 (A Life under six Popes Continud)

Yet again I was protected from rampant modernism by being in a traditional parish  with a history of Latin litugcical practice. Over the years in question, I knew from trips to various friends up and down the country that its style was definitely the exception rather than the rule. All the more reason to see that it was preserved. For the next 13 years Chant and Polyphony were to the most important things in my life.

In 1982 I began the Annulment proceedings.. I'd had to be chivied into it by a friend who knew more about the whole thing than I did. Like most people I thought that Annulments were only for minor royalty and/or the wealthy. A year later I began work at the Tablet as Subscriptions Controller. (More about that on another occasion)  Shortly afterwards tragedy struck one Saturday morning. Choirmaster Michael, aged 43 at the time, suffered a massive heart attack and died before the ambulance arrived to take him to hospital. I don't have any natural siblings, but Michael was my 'brother'.  I cannot describe the grief and shock I felt at his loss.
His parents were both dead. There was no immediate family. The local church would have to see to everything.
The Tablet generously gave me time off to attend the funeral. This was fortunate since it fell to me to do most of the organisation. My annulment came through in 1984.

The period 1979-83 was marked by such important and time consuming events in my personal life that I do not recall being terribly concerned about the Pope, although naturally I was deeply shocked by the attempt on his life.  This may seem hard, even very wrong, but you see, not that I formulated this at the time, he represented the Church who had 'let me down'. I see him differently now of course, but at the time I was far from being impressed by the vaunted charism that everyone said was such a rich blessing. To me it was just an exercise in crowd pleasing histrionics. God please forgive me. And readers, particularly those who only ever knew John Paul II before Benedict XVI, please forgive me too. Remember that he was the fifth Pope in my life. Regardless of the length of his pontificate I have to put him in context, even though he is now BLESSED John Paul II..

To be continued.

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