Warning: I am embarrassed to say this is by far the most sloppy, rambling and personal thing I have ever posted in this weblog, which, normally, I prefer to keep, well, less sloppy and less personal.
However, having spent considerable time away not only from this site, but also from the Internet in general, I finally posted an update on Facebook, explaining my absence and also apologising to some good people whose correspondence I appreciate and which I am still terribly behind on.
I plan on returning to non-sloppy blogging very shortly.
But, in the meantime, I thought re-posting my Facebook update here could not hurt and might just possibly interest certain readers, containing as it does news of my upcoming book and a possible movie for The Gentle Traditionalist.
Thus, without further apology, here is my Facebook post (which has been very minimally edited):
A long update from me. Not sure how many of you will want to read all this …
But, anyway, I’m finally checking back into Facebook, after checking out for a long while.
To explain, I have honestly got more from my Facebook friends in the last year than I ever imagined. Contrary to what I once felt, I do see how FB can be used in heartwarming and meaningful ways.
On the other hand, there have been pressing personal problems. And, more, I think a lifelong tendency to introversion is only growing stronger.
Quite simply, I, for one, need more time for prayer and reflection.
I say that in the midst of not only problems, but also sobering realisations of sin: a deepening awareness of how just many games I play, often hardly being conscious of them …
The only answer it seems to me is prayer, but I find the internet, in general works, against that.
I also need to pray deeply about something else: the future and the work of the future. What is God asking of me? Of course, such a question can never be answered with certainty – so many self-deceptions! – but still it must needs be asked.
As I ask it, I trust my future entails researching and writing on certain themes:
The Chesterbelloc and Christendom …
What Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as Ratzinger once said: “The ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today depends in great part upon the collapse of the liturgy.”
More on these below. And some other news (including a possible movie (!) of The Gentle Traditionalist).
Before I get to the news, though, I repeat something I’ve said often before. I know that one of my numerous sins is letting people down in personal correspondence.
I also believe that I am being honest about difficulty in really balancing outgoing, internet time and the need to focus on problems, pray and research.
I also want to repeat, once more, that I type one-fingered very slowly. (I’ve been experimenting with voice-dictation, but so far it isn’t working for me.)
My main reason for saying this is that I fear that some of you – understandably!- might take it personally how much I seemingly forget or ignore you.
And I want to repeat it isn’t really personal. Warm feelings for so many here and just not knowing how to juggle things best …
Anyway, long update now as I say.
Movie Possibility for The Gentle Traditionalist
First … the movie possibility. I was stunned when my publisher told me they had an enquiry about the rights to make a film of The Gentle Traditionalist!
I’m not sure how much more I can/should say at this point, except that an option has been negotiated with a legitimate filmmaking company. Such an option gives them rights for the next 18 months – but it is no guarantee that it will happen. Still, the fact they put money up indicates their seriousness …
In other developments, I want to continue some things regarding what I invoked above: Ireland, liturgy, Chesterbelloc …
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Ireland, the Legion of Mary and More …
One wonderful thing that happened for me lately was a speaking engagement at a conference by the Legion of Mary in Dublin.
I was unsure, at first, whether to take it up. I hadn’t spoken in public for over ten years and felt shy, nervous.
But how very glad I am that I did. It was a JOY …
That joy started from the moment I arrived. I could not believe the warmth of welcome I received there! So very heartening …
Not only did the talk go well I think, as it seemed to be very appreciated … but I came away with much more.
First. I stayed throughout much of the (first) day and was deeply, deeply moved by the Legion. They are clearly doing incredible work.
Incredible … I am not using hyperbole. Legion of Mary: you give me hope … Hope for Ireland, hope for humanity.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Moreover, coming out of my introverted shell into all this Irish warmth stimulated further thoughts of Ireland.
Controversially, I will say that there seem to me two Irelands now.
The first Ireland has been colonised by the Globalised Mind, which, I think, in so many instances is really the Anglo-American mind and roughly represented by the 62 per cent in the tragedy of the referendum.
And then there is that other 38 per cent that hasn’t been colonised yet …
Now, I experienced that 38 per cent with full-blast intensity in Dublin and so much came with it …
That truly striking Irish warmth of heart … which really does stand out as something unusual and remarkable.
I have lived in seven different countries and really I have never seen anything quite like this elsewhere. I was blown away by it when I first moved to County Clare in 2004. I remain very moved by it now in the rural Northwest. But I was still unprepared to find it so powerfully expressed in “globally colonised” Dublin …
There is so much I see in the “uncolonised Irish”, not only this unique warmth, but other deeply moving qualities.
Words are hard. Piety, yes. Humility, yes. But something more … something so deeply human.
Somehow I feel in Ireland, more than anywhere else, this compassionate, communal sense of us all being in this so-often tragic, fallen, human boat together.
Thus, instead of falling into facile upbeat positivity (e.g. the New Age) …
Instead of falling into nihilism (e.g. what we see popularised in, say, Woody Allen movies or the New Atheism) . . .
In Ireland – dare I say the true, uncolonised Ireland? – there is this pronounced tendency, tendency at least, to refuse either New Age denial or nihilism.
I see this warm pious Christian acceptance of the fallen boat of humanity.
Yes, I am so deeply moved by the Irish spirit. And I have major projects I am planning in regard to such, but I need to pray more.
I will just say this Kim and I are hoping to eventually return down south for these projects. There is a strong sense we need to be in the Republic again. But we cannot see the way yet and we would particularly welcome any prayers or thoughts regarding this that any of our Irish friends might have.
This also ties in with other things regarding:
As my friends well-know, Benedict XVI’s words about the liturgy speak very deeply to me.
Something is terribly, terribly wrong there.
And, as I said in my Dublin talk, one may be very unaware of this if one has – say – spent a lifetime in a single parish with a reverent priest praying the Novus Ordo devoutly.
But when one has travelled much, going to Mass daily in a different parishes every day, as Kim and I have, one quickly sees why Benedict XVI located so much of the catastrophe in the Church in the liturgy …
At least, that is what travelling did for me: opened my eyes to how bad things really are …
Just two things to say here …
In addition to the Legion of Mary in Dublin, I was also so deeply moved this summer by the Institute of Christ the King in Limerick.
And also Silverstream Priory! However, Silverstream’s incredible work seems to me perhaps better suited to those who prefer a longer and deeply contemplative Mass, such as exists in the monastic life.
What hit me so deeply about the Institute of Christ the King this summer was sensing how much their Sunday liturgy, especially, was obviously moving and speaking to more ordinary Irish folk in Limerick (that I am not sure would be quite so drawn to the longer, more contemplative Benedictine practice at Silverstream).
But, as my heart breaks at Ireland’s “global colonisation”, it cries out how much we need both Silverstream and the Institute of Christ the King.
For what I saw this summer at the Institute of Christ the King in Limerick convinced me more than ever of the potential there for rekindling the embers of Irish piety and passion, passion for something different …
Find myself almost wanting to beg the Irish to check out Silverstream in the East and the Institute of Christ the King in the West. (They are not only in Limerick daily but on Sundays in Galway and monthly now in Belfast.) …
Just a note to say that my inwardness of late has led me to deepened contemplation of the unique torch lit in the Anglosphere by Belloc and Chesterton.
And the need to carry that torch in the twenty first …
For me, this is part of the need mentioned above for research and contemplation.
A hint of things to come, when I return to blogging etc …
But also in this context, I cannot help but see Charles A. Coulombe carrying that torch. There are some arresting articles he has produced about the Anglosphere, England and Ireland that seem, at least to me, very much on Belloc’s track, in particular.
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New Book – Cor Jesu Sacratissimum
Finally, I also spent this summer finalising the text for my endlessly delayed book Cor Jesu Sacratissimum. It will be out at long last from Angelico Press this autumn.
People ask what it’s about and it’s hard to sum up.
Basically, it’s a much longer, much more in-depth treatment of the same themes in The Gentle Traditionalist. So … there’s a long chapter on Ireland, more on the crisis in the Church, a great deal on secularisation and so forth. Also a definite indebtedness to Belloc. And, of course, Valentin Tomberg – whom it goes into some detail …
In contrast to The Gentle Traditionalist though, there’s also a lot on France and the Sacred Heart.
Moreover, the New Age is covered much more extensively than in The Gentle Traditionalist.
Here, I’m praying the book can address a real gap in terms of Christian or Catholic books for understanding the New Age. To be frank, there seem hardly any good ones out there. So I go into the origins of the New Age Movement – arguing that despite its pretense of universalism, it is above all an Anglo-American phenomenon. I also draw on my own twenty years experience, living at Findhorn etc.
I will stop now, this being by now very, very long. I wonder who will have read till the end?
And that is all I wrote. I will just finish by repeating that my usual, more formal style of weblogging shall return soon and also that the delayed and inexpensive Kindle edition of The Gentle Traditionalist is now available at Amazon worldwide (along with the paper and hardbacks) here.