St Augustine of Canterbury

Christianity was established in England during Roman times. As the Romans retreated the Anglo – Saxons invaded and settled across the country and Celtic Christianity was pushed west into the more inaccessible parts of the country.

 

Pope Gregory the Great sent a group of 30 monks as missionaries to the pagan Anglo-Saxons. Their leader was Augustine.

 

He severally was ordained bishop and established his See in Canterbury.

 

Christianity flourished and began to spread around the country.

At first, he began to destroy the pagan shrines and high places of worship.

 

The pope told him not to destroy them but to ‘baptise’ them.

 

This was because of the understanding that Christianity built on the past… God was already there in the lives of people.

Jesus purified and brought things to a fullness.

He was a fulfilment and not a contradiction.

 

Fundamentalism often does not understand this!

 

Augustine was not as successful in working in harmony with the established Celtic church in the west of the country partly because of how he handled the situation.

 

Healthy Catholicism is not narrow but embraces good wherever it is. We have a number of Rites in the Catholic Church, eg Ukrainian, Maronite, Syro Malabar etc… all breathing the same Spirit in harmony and in union with Peter …one with the Pope…

 

Eventually, after many years the Latin and the Celtic Church came together in Britain.

 

Let the thousand flowers blossom in God’s garden. This is authentic when true communion happens… Peter is part of this authenticity…

 

May the Spirit who Blows where he wants to lead us into this authenticity.