A long-time friend of this blog's, the Anglican priest Joseph Walker, a.k.a. felix hominum, has passed away. He led a pilgrimage this spring to Turkey and the Greek island of Patmos, so we were shocked to learn several weeks ago that he was gravely ill.
I appreciated Joseph's great love for children, especially his passionate defence of the lives and dignity of those, born and unborn, with genetic abnormalities. And almost anyone with siblings or children will be able to relate to his light-hearted "Liturgy for the Blessing of a Mini Van."
He had much to say about marriage and the struggles within the Anglican Church of Canada. I enjoyed his mischievous pokes at the church's bureaucracy, sometimes through the persona of the Venerable Eustace Smithley-Jones. and at its highly selective invocation of tradition. He told me many people sent the latter link around, though few were bold enough to acknowledge it publicly.
He and I shared a few pints in the course of my visits to Edmonton. In our amiable sparring over Catholicism, for which he had a healthy respect, I was a little awed by his historical and philosophical learning.
Joseph greatly admired Dante's Purgatorio, on which he wrote a series of Lenten reflections. May any actual experience of purgatory for him be brief, and may he swiftly come to see the Beatific Vision. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
Update (20 August): Please see the obituary and a series of memorial reflections by Joseph's good friend Tim Chesterton.