Monday, April 30, 2007

New Bishop

This from VIS today must be good news:

The Holy Father appointed Fr. Timothy Costelloe S.D.B., rector of the Salesian Theological College in Melbourne, Australia, and Msgr. Peter John Elliott, of the clergy of Melbourne, episcopal vicar, as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Melbourne .

Mgr Elliott was not unsympathetic to the traditional Mass and is the author of the Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite.

I was always grateful to him for one morning in Santa Maria della Scala in Rome when I was preparing to celebrate the traditional Mass in what had been the chapel of the Mater Ecclesiae group (a breakaway group from Econe) that he appeared to extricate me from a Carmelite who was insisting that I concelebrate with him! (It was then the house in which the FSSP priests in Rome lived and the chapel houses a foot of St Teresa of Avila.)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sr Petra Clare

I am delighted to be able to say that Sr Petra Clare called the other night to say she will be due to visit York and would like to come to Forest Hall to give a talk on icons. Sister lives at the Sancti Angeli Benedictine Skete at Cannich in Inverness-shire. She painted two icons for St Wilfrid`s church in Gateshead when I was there and I have asked her to paint two for St Mary`s. However first we have to raise the funds and we need nearly £5,000. I have asked for one of the Annunciation for the left of the tabernacle and one of the coronation of Our Lady for the right to represent the first and last mysteries of the Rosary.

Sister will be giving her talk on the evening of Sunday 6th May at 7pm.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Moving of the Benches

On Saturday morning five men of the parish set about moving the church benches to create a central aisle. We were led by Andy our Health and Safety officer who had drawn up a plan to make it work. At times it did look as if the plan was going to go horribly awry but in the end we managed it. The pictures give an idea of before and after.

So far I have had many positive comments about the new arrangement which is a trial for two months. Tomorrow we have a funeral Mass and it will be nice to be able to have the coffin lying with the feet towards the altar instead of having it set out parallel with the altar so that it felt one was standing at an ironing board during the absolutions. There is also room now for the six funeral candlesticks to stand around the coffin. Another benefit is that the view of the altar is unobstructed and it makes it seem more prominent.

As the back rows are now made up of two or more benches together some people have expressed concern that this arrangement may not satisfy fire regulations so that is something to check but by and large I have been delighted by the responses I`ve had.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Blog Awards

I was amazed to see that this blog had been nominated by the for the Blogger`s Choice Awards. Last time when the Catholic blog awards came up I got two votes. This time I see I have seven! Thanks to `Baggins` from Durham for the nomination.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

High Mass at Blackfen

I was just going to continue posting more all-singing and dancing videos from YouTube in the continued absence of the Motu Proprio but I couldn`t resist this slide show from Fr Tim Finigan`s blog of a High Mass in his church which took place on Monday. It is of particular interest as it features my good friend Fr Charles Briggs as celebrant. I`m envious of the altar rails Fr Finigan has installed and would like to have them here but there is no room around the sanctuary area.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Which Twentieth Century Pope are you?

This quiz is featuring on a number of blogs at the minute. Much to my shock I came out as Paul VI! I normally blame all my troubles on him! The comment was: `You are Pope Paul VI. You don't get no respect.` Tell me about it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

It`s sweeping the country

I can`t see this taking off in Forest Hall however.

A night out

Last night I was invited to the Carvers`, one of our NACF families, for a lovely meal. In the course of the evening I was introduced to this video. Once seen, never forgotten! Thanks to Amy Welborn for spotting this.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The New Translation

Thanks to Valle Adurni for the preview of the latest draft of the new translation for the Novus Ordo. It is very satisfying to see such an accurate translation at last. Yes I know the previous one was composed according to the then Vatican directive to capture the sense rather than provide a literal translation but it was often so far removed it is debatable whether it really caught the sense. This example from Fr Tim Finigan made me laugh out loud:

Latin text
accipens et hunc praeclarum calicem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas

he took the cup

he took this precious chalice into his holy and venerable hands,

I also enjoyed the remark of Northern Cleric:

One thing I will not be making room for in my diary is the inevitable "training day" that will be organised by the Diocesan Liturgy Whatsitcallednow? (they keep changing their title). I can read.

This translation will, I hope, do a lot to improve liturgical standards by changing the atmosphere of worship. I`m looking forward to getting started with it.

An interesting account of the problems of the translation currently in use, given at a lecture by members of the new ICEL committee, can be found on the Fumare blog. It`s fair to say that raising any of these issues at Ushaw in the 1980`s would not have done one`s path to the priesthood any favours. How wonderful to see these self same points being made by the present members of ICEL. It feels like a dream.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What difference will the Motu Proprio make?

A friend raised this question with me yesterday. I`m sure there are those who will hope it will make very little. Often we are told when a new document comes out from Rome that it doesn`t really apply to England. That was famously said at the time of the publication of the 1997 document On certain questions regarding the collaboration of the non-ordained faithful in the sacred ministry of the priest despite it being remarkable for bearing the signatures of the heads of numerous Vatican dicasteries. Apparently it was designed for abuses which happen somewhere else but not England. A bishop was known to say that any document from Rome is filed away in his bottom draw, apparently oblivious to the precedent he might be setting for any of his own `guidelines`. Already the opinion has been offered that the Motu Proprio won`t really make any difference in England as the bishops are already so generous with their permissions. I look forward to the interpretation of word `extraordinary` as in the 1962 missal being the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite and will be keen to see if that interpretation comes anywhere near that used in the term extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.

However the same friend raised with me yesterday the practical outcome we can look forward to. For example, this

is not about to be transformed into this!

However what I hope it will enjoy is the momentum of something new. It will be harder for parish councils to declare themselves against any regular use of Latin in the liturgy, even if only a small amount, as I know does happen. There will, I hope, be a greater openness to the `hermeneutic of continuity` and we might see a more balanced approach to worship so that there is a place for that which speaks of tradition alongside the new. Of course nothing will be more powerful than a lead from the top. It would be useful for example for papal Masses to use the Graduale rather than the responsorial psalm if only now and then. A papal celebration of the traditional Mass will also be useful.

So far this papacy has been rather disappointing for those of us who read and were inspired by Cardinal Ratzinger`s books on the question of liturgical reform. However reports say that the Holy Father is determined to have the Motu Proprio see the light of day and is also frustrated by the delays. Let`s pray he gives us all something to celebrate on his 80th birthday.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Another date

Fr Zuhlsdorf has translated this article from the Italian daily, Il Tempo, which sets yet another date for the proposed publication of the Motu Proprio!! He has, as ever, some interesting comments to make.

Here is Father`s translation:

The long-awaited Motu Proprio next Monday Mass in Latin: Tradition returns
The long-awaited papal "Motu Proprio" on the recovery of the pre-Conciliar Mass in the Latin has been ready for a while, but its publication, foreseen at first for before Easter, will slide instead for after 16 April (slitterà a dopo il 16 aprile), the day of the 80th Birthday of Benedict XVI. So indicate reliable sources in the Vatican. The document, written by the Pope himself, will restore the possibility of celebrating the Mass in Latin with the Tridentine Rite. That is not to say that this Rite is forbidden: but there are so many and so complex burocratic obstacles and approvals to obtain from local bishops that most of the faithful to whom it would be a pleasure to return to the feel of things as established by the Council of Trent, that they give up. The Motu Proprio – according to the previews that have surfaced in the last months – would permit the celebration of Mass in an almost automatic way, if it is requested by a certain number of people. The Tridentine Mass in Latin is the only one accepted by the followers of the deceased schismatic [sic] Bishop Marcel Lefevbre and the pontifical document would without question reopen the way for a repair of the break that occured in the ‘80s of the last century. The French bishops, guided by their president Jean Pierre Ricard, aren’t hiding a certain discomfort in the face of losing control over their liturgical capital, still burning in France, the following of the Lefebvrite community of St. Pius X is strong. There are many French priests who refuse to celebrate in Latin. Specifically to smooth the perplexity of the episcopacy on that side of the Alps, the publication of the Motu Proprio was delayed several times. On the other hand is evident that the return of a spirituality more closely connected to the millennial tradition of the Church is one of the central point of this Pontificate: even in the post-Synodal Exhortation on the Eucharist a greater use of Latin and of Gregorian chant was wished for.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A bishop speaks out

From today`s Times.
Senior Catholic says Britain is heading for moral danger

Ruth Gledhill, Helen Rumbelow and Alice Miles
Britain is becoming “aggressively antireligious”, according to a senior Roman Catholic Archbishop. The Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, said that acts of terrorism such as the July 7 bombings had “shaken people’s perception” of the presence of all faiths in the UK.
In an interview with The Times, he also accused the Government of neglecting “moral values” that should form the bedrock of society.
The Archbishop, who campaigned against the Sexual Orientation Regulations, which legislated for equal rights for gay couples when seeking to adopt children, said he believed that gay people were born, not made. His understanding of sexual orientation was that a person “doesn’t have a choice”.
One of the most influential Catholic leaders in the West, he has been at the fore of his Church’s political campaigns on education and asylum-seekers as well as on equality law.
He is among the favourites to succeed the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, who will be 75 in August and will offer his resignation to the Pope this summer.
Anglican and Catholic leaders are concerned at the march of the secular agenda in the West. Archbishop Nichols said: “There is a version of secularism going around which is antireligious, which wants to banish religion from [the political] public forum.” He called this “shortsighted and troublesome” and said that it was mistaken because a properly understood religious faith was a “bedrock for good humanity”.
He said that acts of terrorism had shaken people’s perception of faith in Britain. “I mean sometimes the anxieties that are expressed around faith schools are actually to do with Islamic schools. And when you press a politician they say, well, of course we don’t mean Catholic schools and we don’t mean Church of England schools.
“Then there are others who relish this opportunity to say, with aggression, religious faith is a corruption of human nature, and we’d be better off without it.”
The Archbishop said that Islamic schools must integrate into the state system because “that’s how a community learns to integrate”. He added: “The deep roots of our contemporary secular culture lie in Christianity. And, therefore, there is in Christianity an instinctive understanding about the notion of the rights of the human person.”
Echoing Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, when he voiced fears that the democratic process in Britain was under threat, Archbishop Nichols said: “There is now a clear understanding that politically democracy is the best way of organising the use of power in this society.
“There is, devolved from Christianity, a notion of justice and courts, of the police and supervision of society, of hospitals and of education.”
Asked whether Islam was threatening the roots of society, he said: “I think it remains to be seen.”

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Chrism Mass

This morning I went to the Chrism Mass at St Mary`s cathedral. Under the previous bishop I was never a great attender of this event as I found the music too challenging. ( It was me or the improvising trombone and the trombone won.) Bishop Kevin has introduced some welcome changes into the Mass. I was never that keen on the sanctuary being filled with concelebrating priests as that meant that anyone in the pews looking at the altar would have their gaze met by that of a hundred or so priests. I`m in favour of as few people as possible staring at the congregation over the altar ( preferably none) as I think it distracts from the Mass. Last year the concelebrants behind the altar were restricted to the regional Episcopal Vicars and the Vicar General (although not the Episcopal Vicar for Religious nor the Judicial Vicar) and maybe those priests celebrating jubilees of ordination but I can`t remember for sure. The concelebrants were in the nave on the epistle side. This year we were on the Gospel side and the only concelebrants on the sanctuary were the Vicar General and one regional Episcopal Vicar. There were most of the permanent deacons on the sanctuary but I imagine as their number increases their numbers will have to be restrained. The new arrangement also has the benefit that it allows the bishop to address his clergy face to face in the homily whereas in the past we were looking at his back.

The bishop spoke, in his homily, mainly to the priests and focused on the hands of the priest, speaking first about the importance of hands in general and then specifically in the life and work of the priest.

The music had not, for the bulk of it, caught up on the `hermeneutic of continuity` however. There was again nothing composed before 1970 apart from the tunes of the opening and closing hymns and a Tallis anthem, from his Protestant phase, `If ye love me` which was kind of the theme tune of the English College, Rome, in the early 1990`s. The Gloria and Responsorial Psalm were composed by a local Catholic guitarist who was part of today`s music group and the Eucharistic Acclamations and Breaking Song were by Marty Haugen. A pleasant interlude came with the hymn `O Redeemer, hear our singing `an ancient hymn probably written by an Irish poet and used in the liturgy of Maundy Thursday since the time of Charlemagne` according to the booklet, which was sung unaccompanied to its plainsong tune. We were meant to sing `O Godhead hid` after communion but it was dropped for reasons of time, I suppose. I seem to remember something similar happening last year.

Most of the music was performed in a `folk` style with guitar, piano and flute accompaniment. My reaction to plucked string instruments in the liturgy is similar to my reaction to private revelations to `seers`. If it happened 400-500 years ago I can cope better with it. Thus a theorbo in the sacred music of Monteverdi or Vivaldi is ok. The guitar today feels like a symbol of the liturgical revolution. So I am happy with the dialogues of St Catherine of Siena but feel uneasy with more recent uncanonised people claiming divine authority for their revelations. At least the improvising trombone has gone!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Buy now while stocks last

Catholic World News reports today:

In expectation of the motu proprio, Catholic bookstores in Rome have begun selling copies of the 1962 Missal. Expecting brisk sales, publishing houses in Italy are reprinting the old Missal.

I`m glad to say that I beat the rush in that I ordered 50 copies of `The order of Mass (Tridentine) in Latin and English` from Carmel of Plymouth a few months ago! I`m also glad to say that the vestments that come from Luzar`s all come with maniple, veil and burse too. I may however need a couple of sets of altar cards but I suppose in an emergency there are always the online sets from the sedevacantists! Surely the waiting must be nearly over.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Family Day

On Sunday a number of families from the Catholic Families Association came to St Mary`s for a Family Day. I have been involved with the Association since 1992. I used to find the newspaper for the National Association of Catholic Families in the snug of the English College and think that when I got back to the diocese I would like to be involved with this apostolate. I was delighted to find that there was a branch in the diocese and have been involved ever since and may even be honorary chaplain. Last summer I was delighted to be asked to celebrate the wedding of the daughter of one of our families. The Association seeks to live by the teaching of Pope John Paul II in the document Familiaris Consortio and provides support for Catholic families seeking to be faithful to the Church`s teaching on family life. This Sunday we only had a small number but recent meetings have seen much larger gatherings.

This time I spoke to the 7-11 year olds about confession. The children were quick to turn the session into a series of difficult moral quandaries about where to apportion blame in certain circumstances! I was assisted by Dorothy our organist who had stayed on after Mass to play for Benediction. Dorothy gave the children a short introduction to Gregorian chant and we had a run through of the Adoremus for Benediction.

The picture above shows the families and the children are holding the pictures the youngest had coloured in for the Station which took place in the garden with different families each taking a station.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Chant Sunday

Being the first Sunday of the month we had a `chant Sunday` at the 10.30 Mass. The first Sunday of the month is also the Sunday when the young people do the readings and take the collection. Today the first two readings were read by children while adults helped with the parts in the Passion reading. The children today used a hand-held microphone which greatly improved their audibility. I too have improved mine by discovering a few weeks ago that a portable microphone has to be directly in front of the mouth instead of round the side of the chasuble neck. This puts an end I hope to `Fr Brown: the Inaudible Years` which have gone on for quite a while now.

This time before Mass Dorothy, our organist, led the congregation in a practice of the Sanctus and Agnus Dei of Mass 18. I`m glad to report that there were definitely people singing the Agnus Dei but the Sanctus may take a little longer to become familiar. Still, Rome wasn`t built in a day. During the distribution of Communion, Ian sang the Vexilla Regis as a solo before the congregation sang `The Servant King`. When people are not familiar with chant it naturally takes time to learn anything new but I hope by incorporating it with a lot of familiar hymns the shock will not be as great. In the meantime I must get into school with some simple chants as I`ve said I`d do. I was trying to find a recording of Mass 18 to take in for the teacher but on the occasions I`ve looked I`ve not found anything suitable.

Many thanks to Ian and Dorothy for their labours.