Saturday, 12 May 2007

Catholic England's Top Five

Mulier Fortis has just tagged me - the challenge is to list my five favourite places in Catholic England. Sadly I assume that this excludes Catholic buildings now in Anglican hands, Scottish wonders like Pluscarden Abbey and our English Colleges in Rome and Valladolid. I'm also going to exclude Westminster Cathedral and the London Oratory since I'm sure every one else will mention them.

Here are five of my favourite places:
  • Oxford - the city has so many Catholic connections (saints, martyrs and modern apostles like Newman and Ronald Knox) and many impressive Catholic centres within a short distance, including the Oratory, the Old Palace (University Chaplaincy), Blackfriars, Greyfriars, St Benet's Hall (OSB), Campion Hall (SJ) and Grandpoint House (Opus Dei).
  • Farnborough Abbey - a little piece of France in the heart of Hampshire. Despite being a Bonapartist shrine, the architecture is stunning, the liturgy dignified and the printing press prolific. Best of all, it's within easy reach of London.
  • National Shrine of Our Lady of Willesden - not in the most beautiful part of London but it's a stunning and unspoilt 1931 church, complete with High Altar and baldacchino, with a shrine to Our Lady that restores a medieval devotion and was visited by St Thomas More. Plus it was the church of my Ordination!
  • St James', Spanish Place - another beautiful London church with a fine musical and liturgical tradition.
  • Stonyhurst - the Jesuit school in Lancashire that has England's greatest treasure-trove of Catholic relics. Talking of Lancashire, I could also add St Peter's Cathedral, Lancaster, and St Walburge's, Preston, to my 'Top Five.'
Hopefully that's broad enough - I don't want to be accused of bloc voting (as we disgracefully saw in this evening's Eurovision Song Contest)! I could have included many other places (Cheadle, Ware, Downside, etc). Consider yourself tagged if you're reading this and would like to have a go at this meme.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Mac McLernon said...

Nice choices Father!... I have to admit I was torn picking my five - so many places could have been added!

3:16 pm  
Anonymous Hilary said...

No one seems to be listing Walsingam. Is it because the most Catholic thing there is the Anglican shrine? I've seen the ugly new thing the Catholics put up there. (Odd that the Benedictine monks at Clear Creek , Oklahoma have gone to such lengths to make a horse barn look as much like a church as they can, while the Catholics are busy putting up churches deliberately designed to look like horse barns.) I suspect that if I were to go visit Walsingham myself, I would see the arch and just start to cry with fury.

3:52 pm  

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