Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Extraordinary Form at Durham University

Durham University is a place where many people who failed to get a place at Oxford or Cambridge often study. Catholic life at Durham is somewhat more restricted than at those other two universities however: whereas Oxford and Cambridge have houses of religious, Durham has two Catholic parish priests one of whom is also university chaplain. It always struck me as a pity that no Catholic religious congregation of men had made a foundation at Durham. I`m sure an Oratory would do well there as it has at St Aloysius at Oxford.
About five to eight years ago I celebrated a couple of Masses for university students in the castle chapel in the Extraordinary Form. One in particular lives on in the memory as a student choir not only sang a Byrd setting of the Ordinary but also of the Propers as well. Even I thought, that while it was interesting to hear this done, it was a bit too much. Attempts by that group of students to get permission for a regular Mass, by which they hoped for once a term, were refused by the bishop of the time.
Since Summorum Pontificum a group in the university has been trying to get a Mass organised. This has taken a long time but this Wednesday night, the chaplain has invited a priest from the diocese of Hallam to celebrate an EF Mass. At this point I don`t know if it is to be a Low or Sung Mass. I would like to be there but I have my monthly Mass at Morpeth that night.
Having a priest from Hallam to say the Mass reminds me of how it was sometimes the rule before the Motu Proprio that a bishop would not let a Mass in the EF be said by a priest from outside the diocese. Presumably such rules can no longer apply.
I hope the Mass is well-attended. I`m sure Durham would be fertile ground for the EF if it is allowed to get under way. I hope that this will become a regular feature of university life as it is, after all, part of the Catholic mainstream now. I`m still praying we get a bishop who sees it that way!
UPDATE: The Mass will be at St Cuthbert`s church at 7pm (NOT 7.30 as advertised on the local LMS bulletin)


Anonymous said...

I'd love to have been able to get there, but other commitments mean it's not possible. I hope the Mass is well supported.

I share in your prayers, Father, for the next bishop of H and N.

leutgeb said...

I was a Catholic Music undergraduate at Durham from 1989-92 and remember the Schola Cantorum, a Choir run by the then Reader in Music Dr Jerome Roche, singing for an SSPX Mass, in Durham, which I did not attend.

Several more of the Colleges have invested heavily in their chapel choirs recently and there are now twice as many Music undergraduates as there were 20 years ago, so maybe the time is ripe for another musical renaissance.

Augustine said...

"Durham University is a place where many people who failed to get a place at Oxford or Cambridge often study."


roydosan said...

Augustine, it's true!

I was at Durham between 98-04 and there were irregular SSPX Masses held in the debating chamber on Palace Green which we were strongly discouraged from attending. The university's RC chaplain (who is now at the cathedral) started a termly Novus Ordo Latin Mass from around 2002. I don't know whether the new chaplain continued with this.

Anonymous said...

As far as I am aware the SSPX never 'held' any Masses in the University Debating Chamber.

Dr. Thomas Glover, after he had left Econe and formally working with the SSPX used the Debating Chamber for the celebration of the Sacred Triduum. The hire of the chamber was paid for by St. Cuthbert's Traditional Catholic Trust not the SSPX.

Dr. Glover's celebrations were superb and certainly left a lasting impression on me. When the SSPX adopted the 1962 liturgical books in 1983 Dr. Glover carried on in the best tradition and retained the Old Rite.

leutgeb said...

I am just reporting what a (Catholic ) member of that choir told me at the time.

Good to hear good things about St Cuthbert's.

Fr Michael Brown said...

Augustine, I write as a graduate of both St Andrews and Durham universities both of which had a good sprinkling of Oxbridge applicants. I wasn`t allowed by my school to try for Oxbridge as I was doing 4 A levels back in 1977. No I don`t understand it either.

roydosan said...

Old Believer, you are mistaken - there was definitely at least one SSPX Mass in the debating chamber in 2002 (organised by one of the dons so I am led to believe). All members of the university Cath Soc were e-mailed requesting them not to attend.

Anonymous said...

Dear Roydosan

I am happy to be corrected but 2002was way after my experiences. Dr. Glover retired in 1995. I had assisted at his Triduum from 1991.

I would be in complete agreement with the email you received.