The National Pilgrimage to the Anglican Marian Shrine at Walsingham took place on Monday 31st May. This year the leader was none other than Archbishop Rowan Williams.
Some thirty-five Protestants turned up to bear witness to the Reformed Faith, challenging the priests and their dupes to justify their Mariolatry from the Word of God. Needless to say none did but many interesting debates and personal witnesses took place; far more than in the past. There were also those who shouted abuse and meaningless slogans. However, as the debates and preaching proceeded it was pleasing to see how many were listening intently.
It was sad to observe so many people believing devoutly in Mary in spite of being unable to bring a shred of evidence from the Bible to support their viewpoint. One becomes quickly aware that what one is dealing with is not ignorance of the truth but a satanic delusion that has gripped their minds.
This year, a new police inspector was in charge and it soon became obvious that he espoused a politically correct world view. He ordered one person to take down a banner protesting about the ordaining of homosexual clergy. A barrister, who was with the witness, intervened and the police inspector turned his back on him. The same police inspector eyes a banner carrying the message “Be not deceived neither adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abuser of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God”. However, he obviously thought better of ordering us to take down a Scripture quotation. It is wiser to display appropriate Bible verses when dealing with sensitive issues.
Once again, apart from two worthy exceptions, Anglican Evangelicals were nowhere to be seen. Such respectability has all but lost the battle within that denomination. After all, the proceedings at Walsingham are done in the name of Anglicanism.
A larger number of pilgrims was present than in recent years, presumably attracted by the presence of the Arch druid. However, some pilgrims went through the village centre twice. One wonders if this was an attempt to make up the numbers.
All in all, it was, one felt, a very worthwhile witness, in spite of the paucity of numbers on the Protestant side.
Mr Lance Sexton of Chelmsford writes:
“Many people there denied Mary worship and said that they just loved and respected her. Why they need an image to do this was not made clear. As for not worshipping Mary, we found in the “Magnify the Lord” National Pilgrimage programme, songs of praise directed to this dead Christian lady of old. One song starts:
Daily, daily, sing to Mary,
Sing my soul, her praises due;
All her feasts, her actions worship,
With the heart’s devotion true.
Lost in wond’ring contemplation
Be her majesty confessed:
Call her Mother, call her Virgin,
Happy Mother, Virgin blest.
Mr Sexton continues, “The rest of the song is just as shocking. If travelling miles to Walsingham to follow an idol of Mary and to sing songs like the above is not Mary worship, then what is it?
The official pilgrimage handbook speaks of Mass, Prayers of the Rosary, The Eucharist and then has traditional hymns like “Guide me, O thou great Redeemer” and “All hail the power of Jesus’ name”. We found the crowd was a mixture of both Roman Catholics and Anglicans.
“Money is much a part of this event, as with much of Romanism. It was £3 for the guide book (we found a disused one!) and one would need this to get in to the mass. According to the handbook there was a collection in the ceremony, not for the work of the Gospel or for the printing of Bibles, but for the upkeep of the Shrine of Mary. There was also much beer and other refreshments sold, along with the usual shops cashing in on religious images of Mary or Christ.
“A policeman seemed to object to a sign that one protester was holding. The words on one side said: ‘The Bible. Cure for Sodomy. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.’ After much debate and thought and also the threat of arrest, it was decided to place the sign out of view.
“We had a few speakers that gave a clear testimony to the crowds gathered there. Much Scripture was recited and much heckling was answered. Some in the crowd were challenged to quote from the scriptures to back up their worship of Mary, but this was sadly always declined. Much exhortation was given to those present to read the Bible and base their faith on the solid words of God.
Even if one person went home and decided to do this, it would have been worth the effort of the witness.”