Saturday, 13 November 2010

SWISH of the Curtain

Ever since the Society Model was announced, there has been something nagging in the back of my mind about acting. Something on TV maybe? No, now I have it. There was a serialised radio play on the BBC called "The Swish of the Curtain". According to the Beeb, who revived it as recently as 2007, it was an 'astonishing story' ..'Pamela Brown's 1940s tale of stage-struck children who start their own theatre company'. It even gave rise to a Theatre School in Bournemouth - their logo appears above, I hope they are glad of the publicity.

So there we have it: Our Lord spoke about "children in the market place saying 'we piped for you and you would not dance'". Neither John the Baptist nor Our Lord himself could satisfy them. Now there's another little group, a 'society' which wants us all to play their game.

Fr Hunwicke has posted a devastating account of where this Society Model has come from - a product of the dream-world of Chichester. Perhaps, though, there is also about it something of 'The Swish of the Curtain'; stage-struck children, setting up their own company. Of course we wish them well; but I fear it is going to end in tears when the theatre management tells them their little show is not going to appear. It will be patronised for a while by those who would use it to undermine Anglicanorum Coetibus; but it will not be allowed to have any independence, any jurisdiction. Just patronised. Still, children grow up, and eventually they will be looking for a more authentic and enduring company. The longest-running show on earth has an opening for them - the Ordinariate will always be there to welcome them.


  1. I think being unkind about those who feel they can't join the ordinate is unwise. Why not take a break from blogging for while, have a holiday .....

  2. Maybe it is unwise; but worse than unwise would be to keep silent and pretend that the Society Model is leading anywhere. It may provide a temporary refuge for those unable to take advantage of Anglicanorum Coetibus at this moment - that is why I said "We wish them well" -but (as Fr Houlding suggested when he spoke at the Sacred Synod in support of SSWSH) it will have a very short existence.

  3. I agree with Augustine of Canterbury! I have always believed - for my sixty seven years- that the calling of those from the catholic tradition in the Church of England is to stay faithful to that tradition and to ensure that the C of E never is able to forget or ignore its calling to be the Catholic Church in these lands. I cannot believe that a time when the C of E needs us most is the right time to head for the Ordinariate. How will the C of E without us understand her catholicity? I have no problem with those who feel they must go, but please stop criticising those of us who feel the call to stay for the sake of our brethren in the C of E.

  4. Whilst the exitement of the coming Ordinariate may have caused misguided comment, I think +Edwin may be forgiven. The discoveries and joy which come from entering into true communion with the Catholic Church can leave one a little light headed (& he is not even there yet!). Suddenly you understand that the church local, however sincere, lacks completeness and truth when apart from the Church Universal. The Catholic Church in these lands is complete, true, and is offering a share in that Universality. It ain't the CofE...
    For me, a Catholic who has already made this pilgrimage, with some heartache, but also with humility, perseverance and growing understanding, to discover that completeness, truth and universality has brought joy and peace beyond measure. It's not perfect, but it's definitely Catholic.
    With prayers & a welcome home to those who seek it...

  5. Just to add to, and strengthen, the parable - the book was based on the real life dramatic productions of Pamela Brown's childhood in a church hall in Colchester -

  6. How will the C of E without us understand her catholicity?
    The catholicity it still has, the C of E is recklessly getting rid of, and forcing out - either now or quite soon - those who wish it to remain catholic. If telling people they are in denial is called "criticising", so be it.

  7. i liked the book,, the theme is nice and the story remains around the main character and the story tells us how the character fulfills her dreams...
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