catholic but not roman

I took this shot in one of the small side chapels in St. Paul’s Cathedral on a trip back to the UK in 1997. Today in the Guardian I found the answer to a mystery that arose for me about St. Paul’s many years before I took this photo.

Growing up on a council estate on the outskirts of London, my younger sister and I would travel alone into the City to visit St. Paul’s during the summer holidays (entrance was free in those days). Sometimes we would sit through the services, and on one such occasion when we were about 8 and 10-years old, the person leading the service said in prayer. “ this Your Holy Catholic Church.”
I nudged my sister, “Hey, he said catholic.” (which I pronounced “caflick” at the time).

“So?” my sister rebutted.

“We’re not catholic” I explained, “we’re Church of England, we ought to go!”

“Maybe he never said it - ask the lady in front” My sister suggested.

“Excuse me lady” I whispered while gently nudging the back of the large lady sitting in the pew before us, “did he say this church is catholic?”

“Yes,” the lady snapped obviously (and appropriately) annoyed at the two scruffy unsupervised children disturbing her worship.

“But I thought this was Church of England” I persisted, “is this Church of England?”

“I don’t know,” the lady snapped, and her retort was followed by a chorus of shushing and very stern looks from those around.

“Blimey,” I whispered to my sister, “maybe this is catholic.”
Anyway, thanks to Giles Fraser, the mystery is solved and I now know – and perhaps the large lady sitting in front now knows too.

Link to article: Catholic but not Roman

1 comment:

CL said...

One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic --- these are the 4 attributes or 4 marks of the Christian Church.