Friday, June 29, 2007

The Pontificator Says Farewell

Two days ago, Fr. Al Kimel ended his long-running blog, “Pontifications.” When he started the blog, he knew the time was approaching when he would not be able to remain an Episcopal priest. “Pontifications” served as an apologia for his departure from the Episcopal Church; a public exploration of the alternatives, Catholicism and Orthodoxy, in light of the Tradition of the Church; and an explanation of why, for an Anglo-Catholic, these were the only post-Anglican options.

I was slow to enter the world of blogging. I never read “Pontifications” regularly, but it was really the first blog I read at all. I discovered there the names of many others who have become more familiar to me in the years since, either from their regular comments in other blogs I read, or from their own blogs. Among these was Fr. Stephen Freeman, whose blog “Glory to God for All Things” might even be described as a spin-off from “Pontifications.”

Fr. Kimel titled his last post Namárië, which means farewell in Quenya, the classical language of the Elves of Middle Earth. “Namárië” is also the name of a poem, whose other name is “Galadriel’s Lament”:

Ah! like gold fall the leaves in the wind,
long years numberless as the wings of trees!
The long years have passed like swift draughts
of the sweet mead in lofty halls
beyond the West, beneath the blue vaults of Varda
wherein the stars tremble
in the song of her voice, holy and queenly.
Who now shall refill the cup for me?
For now the Kindler, Varda, the Queen of the stars,
from Mount Everwhite has uplifted her hands like clouds
and all paths are drowned deep in shadow;
and out of a grey country darkness lies
on the foaming waves between us,
and mist covers the jewels of Calacirya for ever.
Now lost, lost to those of the East is Valimar!
Farewell! Maybe thou shalt find Valimar!
Maybe even thou shalt find it! Farewell!

As it becomes apparent that there is no future for Anglo-Catholicism, this sense of melancholy is becoming all too familiar to those of us who knew and loved that tradition. Fr. Kimel wrote,

Becoming Catholic has brought many blessings, but it has not healed the sorrows of my heart. Indeed, in some ways it has intensified these sorrows. But this is all very private. All I need say is that I often find them overwhelming. God is silent. I am reduced to silence.

On “Stand Firm,” Sarah Hey posted this message of goodbye to Fr. Kimel and “Pontifications.” Following her lead, many readers, including me, shared our grief over the loss of this traditon we love. Meanwhile, the notice of the end of “Pontifications” on “The Confessing Reader” drew a response from Todd Granger, including this reflection on Tolkien:

. . . the weird thing is, the Anglican crisis has given me a deeper appreciation for the soul-piercing beauty and longing of LOTR and other of Tolkien’s writings (see particularly his poem on the journeys of St Brendan). I’ve thought for a couple of years now that there is something distinctly Numenorean about Anglicanism. And, I think, not only in the sense of The Faithful (Elendil et al) being analogous in some way to those Anglicans devoted to the apostles’ teachng and fellowship.

My lament for Anglicanism is sure to provide another layer of meaning the next time I read Tolkien’s Silmarillion.


Mari said...

Oh do continue to visit. I understand some of your reasons for changing trains (using the train wreck analogy) and what was lost might be worth the cost to what was gained.

Roland said...

I just visited St. Paul's last night - the first time I've been to E&B since January.