Thursday, 14 April 2011

Are you eligible to be a Guild Member?

 My earlier (and supposedly lighthearted) post on the subject of a Catholic Guild (of which I heartily approve) seems to have produced a spate of worried concerns about "exclusions". I don't think that exclusions are on anyone's mind at all other than a few who appear fearful of such a fate. So, in an effort to redress the situation here is my (emphasis on the 'my') take on the issue following on from Fr John's comments.

Fr John Abberton from the North of England poses the question of eligibility; in addition, he has certain reservations about such a Guild. What will its Mission Statement be? (gosh, it's ten years or more since I heard that phrase), Will a test of faith be required? is it even necessary? And, finally, he will not be joining.

The answer is, I have no idea. I presume those involved and those of us attending will hammer out a plan and a format.
But I can give the Father a guesstimate about a few things. And here I hasten to add that the following is my analysis of how things will broadly pan out, not rocket science, as is said.

1. I hope there will be no Mission Statement but just an overarching descriptor.

2. All Catholic bloggers will be free to join as long as they abide by the teachings of Holy Mother Church. That means that a blogger from the (shall we say) left wing, charismatic type end of the Church is just as welcome as one from the right wing end. But it has to be said that, from those who are present on the average blogroll, most are traditional and would perhaps be described as right of centre.

3. No test of faith is required. Other than the normal ducking stool immersion for ten minutes. If you come out alive after that, you're in.
Yep, he's breathing, enrol him!

4. Is a Guild necessary? Well, with the Father coming from the North I would have thought that the answer to that one was obvious. The Guilds in the past were a wonderful way of bringing together people united in their industry. A chance for a little feasting on high days and holy ones and with more than a smattering of regular daily devotions plus an annual Mass and bun fight on the feast of their patron saint. A good and Catholic way of carrying on, praying, rousting and supporting one another. Sounds pretty good to me.

5. And what of those who do not join? Well, that's up to them. My father used to be a Knight of St Columba but I never joined - no big deal! As for planning to exclude people...I think not, provided they meet the basics.

I make the above comments without any recourse to Dylan Parry, Jane Mossendew, Mac McLernon and others so I could well be shot down in flames but basic Catholic common sense tells me I'm in the right neck of the woods. (I hope).


  1. LOL, well I may not be able to survive the dunking stool but I most certainly enjoy the reading of other Catholic thinkers.

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  4. How can it be cliquey when hardly anyone knows one another....?
    It might be a good idea to see how it all pans out before slagging it off!

  5. Think you're in the right of it Richard. Let's wait and see.

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  7. Interesting. I wonder if guild members will be issued a seal of approval after the "dunking." There is the Catholic Writers Guild, but they only put a stamp of approval on a single piece of writing- ie. a book. But a blog's an ever changing thing.

  8. Thank you for dealing so sensitively with my concerns. I was aware of the humour, but I do have serious reservations. Anyway, let me say that I sincerely wish everyone who wants to join a guild all the very best and I hope it all works out OK. I am actually being sincere in this. Maybe there are those who do need that kind of support - I mean beyond the support we already have through the sacraments, the prayers and the communication we already have on our blogs. Thanks for recognising the "North" which once was wonderfully Catholic.

  9. Thank you for this post, Richard...

    And I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    Of course, no one will be forced to join a Guild - for such an association is primarily there to serve the spiritual needs of its members. There are many Catholic doctors who don't belong to the Guild of Catholic Doctors, for example.

    I do think that bloggers contribute to the Church's broader mission, and therefore need some nourishment and practical support. In that sense, no one can be Christian alone, and no one can really blog safely in the name of Christ as a loner (unless they have a special vocation). As human beings, we are social in nature - and it's therefore good to meet up and share ideas, meals and attend Mass together.

    There will be no test of faith... All who accept the teaching authority of the Church, or are at least open to accepting Catholicism as truth, will be welcome to join. It is a matter of their own consciences to determine whether or not they feel comfortable with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    I am aware that some are a bit scared of the idea of coming together and meeting others - which is why it's much easier for us to blog, and not meet within real space and time? That's a great shame, and a tragedy of our time, but it is possible to blog as a Catholic and live as a Catholic, too.

    I would also like to assure Jackie Parkes that there would be nothing cliquey about such a Guild - open to all and to all opinions (we are able to hold onto different opinions which fall outside defined dogma and doctrines, after all). It definitely won't be some kind of sect or cult, like the dangerous lay movements that sprang up under JPII (my opinion, which I am entitled to hold). lol.

    Look forward to seeing you... ;-)

  10. I'm not a Catholic blogger but I enjoy reading all of you, and learning from you. I know I can't be a member but I do seem to have a surplus of cats if anyone needs to borrow one to get in.

  11. Dylan - many thanks for those comments. I had not meant to brew up a storm!

    Kathy - thank you for your kind offer but, most reluctantly, I shall have to refuse :)

    Fr J - Thank you

    Thank you all. I think all further comment should be saved until a report on the inaugural meeting is made.

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