Neither cricket nor Catholic

All the great Catholic writers of the twentieth century; Waugh, Green, Belloc and so on, were united by their faith.

It did not just inform their work, it was infused in it. It lent them a common sense of self, of man and his condition and of humour.

What set them apart as great writers, rather then only great Catholic writers, was their Englishness. The temperate climes of this isle granted them an abhorrence of what was then called ‘enthusiam’.

In times gone by, to be enthusiastic was the mark of a man out of control – of the hotheaded Latin. Enthusiasm, be it patriotic, amorous or especially religious, was to have been carried away in the moment and to miss the mark.

The love of God is unbounded but temperate; the still small voice of calm rather than the hurricane.

The history of the Church teaches us that when the love and truth of God is announced without rancour or judgement, but with patience calm and humility, it has manifold gains in its power. It is the quiet truth which draws the demonic shriek.

For example, it is by unflinchingly and calmly announcing that God loves all men, even the unborn, which draws the hysterical abuse of the secular world.

Conversely, when the truth and love of God is hurled as missile or wielded as a club, it loses all grace.

As Moses smote the rock in the wilderness, his violence jarred with God’s gentle provision and cost him dear.

The ethernet community is choked with the shouts of the vitriolic and I wince to see it.

I am not referring to any of our esteemed membership nor to any of those worthy sites to which the club is pleased to direct its visitors. Our ways are not their ways – humour can gently express a multitude of feelings without rancour.

As an example, take the New Oxford Review, who interrupted my Christmas edition of the Spectator with a full page advertisement slating the clergy and episcopate.

When I set up the club, I was joined reasonably sharpish by Veritati and the Hon. Treasurer. Among us we debated including the NOR in our Outgrounds. In the end we decided against it. Some months later a visitor suggested it again but our thinking had not changed.

There are some things the Church does not stand for, and therefor the club cannot permit. Foremost among them in the NOR and others the way they focus their fire on the Church, and do so with undisguised contempt. Though they may have real concerns, though they may make fair points and do so intelligently, if we do all these things and have not love…?

Abusing the hierarchy of the Church is increasingly becoming the hallmark of those who consider themselves ‘proper’ Catholics. Yet a passing glance at Ignatius of Antioch, St. Paul or indeed Pope John Paul II will tell us that our first line of obedience is to our bishop.

As Christ was obedient to Mary and Joseph so we are under the rule of the Church. This is a submission not of blindness but of humility and love; the real hallmarks of a Christian.

Mike Gatting argues with Shakoor Rana (Pt 1), Pakistan v England, 2nd Test, Faisalabad, December 8, 1987One of the central things about cricket is that to play it well you have to know when to calm yourself, to reign it back in, not get carried away and stay focused. When a batsman sees red and swings for the boundary once to often he offers the simplest of catches. He who is patient and restrained notches up the centuries.

Nothing is ever gained by dissent or anger, you only end up costing your team dear.


3 thoughts on “Neither cricket nor Catholic

  1. Well said, sir. there is an edge of more-catholic-than-thou about some bloggers and a failure to acknowledge the fact that Peter’s barque is manned by a crew of sinners ( I rank well below an Able Seaman in the crew). It was ever thus.

    A bishop, is a bishop is a bishop and I’m traditional enough to believe that God gives us the bishops we deserve.Even when I might not always agree with everything he does. our first point of loyalty is to the bishop – throwing metaphorical stools at bishops (even Anglican ones) is a rather proddy thing to do. Look what happened in Auld Reekie:

  2. Pingback: More on Radiant Light « The Recusant Cricket Club

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