Monday, June 30, 2008

New Blog

Recently I stumbled across a new blog of local interest. It belongs to `Madame Evangelista` and concerns her tentative inquiries into Catholic faith and life here on Tyneside. If you would like to follow her story so far, it can be read here.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Scripture Readings for Mass

I have for quite a few years used the Daily Gospel service which emails the daily Mass readings. It even comes with a commentary. However I only recently discovered they also provide the same service for the Extraordinary Form. This is particularly useful when I can`t find the ordo and need to know which Sunday after Pentecost it is for the monthly EF Mass at Longbenton. The EF service is called Per ipsum and can be found here.

Masses in places of historical interest

Yesterday I travelled into the wilds of Northumberland to celebrate the EF Mass at Biddlestone chapel. I wrote about this last year. Here is a picture of the interior.

It was good to see Fr Emerson of the FSSP there yesterday too and talk about the news. I was sorry that I didn`t have time to call into the new FSSP parish in Rome when I was there the other week at Santissima Trinita dei Pellegrini. It`s a church I`ve never visited despite it being so close to the English College.

On July 22nd at 7.30pm we will have a Mass in the EF at Dilston, near Corbridge. This was the home of the Radcliffes whose most famous member was the third Earl of Derwentwater who was executed for his part in the 1715 Jacobite rebellion.
The chapel was built by the family for Catholic worship and after many years as an Anglican chapel was recently given up by the C of E. I`ve said Mass there in 2006 and 2004.

Later on the annual Mass at Brinkburn Priory will take place on September 20th at 12 noon. This is always a glorious event. Last year`s plans to have a solemn High Mass were scuppered when our deacon`s satnav led him to an empty field. I hope we`ll manage to have a Solemn High this year. The music will be provided by the Schola Gregoriana of Northumbria and the Rudgate Singers who will sing a Josquin Mass.

Another significant EF Mass takes place on September 13th at St Mary`s Cathedral at 6pm. This is organised by the local branch of the Holy Family Guild to mark the 40th anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae. This will be the first time since the introduction of the Pauline Mass that an EF Mass will happen in our cathedral. Many thanks to the HFG and to Fr Leighton of the cathedral.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Professor Colin McGuckin on RTE

This past week Colin McGuckin, Professor of Regenerative Medicine at Newcastle University, was interviewed about his work on the Gerry Ryan show on the Irish radio station RTE 2fm about his work. Anyone interested in ethically-acceptable stem cell research will find this interesting. If you listen for long enough you will hear a reference to this blog! Click here to listen. Don`t forget the website Novussanguis.

St Mary`s Forest Hall at the Papal audience June 11th 2008

Sorry for the lack of editing at the end. That`s beyond my technical abilities as yet!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

An Important Development

I read on the NLM tonight that Fr Simon Henry, who I remember as a fellow student in my Ushaw days, has been appointed as parish priest of the first personal parish for the 1962 missal in England. Congratulations to Fr Simon. The parish is that of St Vincent, Toxteth (pictured above) in the diocese of Liverpool. This is a very important development for this country. It will be interesting to see how it fares. The Rise and Pray blog offers some thoughts on the news.

Full Steam Ahead into Schism

There have been many reports on the internet regarding the attempt by Pope Benedict to bring the Society of St Pius X, founded by archbishop Lefebvre, back into a regular relationship with the Church. The Society have been offered five conditions to which they are asked to give their reply by June 28th. It appears that the Lefebvrist leader, bishop Fellay, went to Rome a couple of weeks ago to engage in talks. We will know the answer by Saturday. However the Society`s resident loose cannon, bishop Richard Williamson, has given his answer already. It can be read here. It is no surprise that he rejects an accord. Not until Rome agrees with him will there be a reconciliation.

With the progress of Summorum Pontificum it is hard to see there being much of a future for the SSPX. They will end up as another small schismatic sect. Let`s hope that there is till time and that there will be a happy outcome on Saturday. I expect that if not then further canonical sanctions will be directed against the SSPX.

Can I kneel to receive Communion... the Eucharist... Jesus

This video is doing the rounds of blogs today. It appears on Fr Blake`s and Fr Finigan`s blogs. In the light of my post yesterday about Communion in the hand this is interesting to hear. I have met people who have been refused Communion, not a million miles from here, because they were kneeling. They were told they could not receive unless they stood up. The comment about altar rails is very valuable too.

Feast of St Josemaria, part 2

We celebrated the feast of St Josemaria today at 10am Mass. The `Mass kit` seemed to go down well. In preparing I came across this quotation from St Josemaria which made me smile.

I remember now, quite clearly that when I was a young priest I used to be given, quite often, two firm rules for `getting ahead`: the first was not to work, not to take on much apostolic activity because that would only give rise to all kinds of envy and enemies. The second was not to write, because what one writes, even if written with precision and clarity, is usually misinterpreted. I thank God that I never followed that advice and I am happy I did not become a priest to `get ahead`.

How incense can conquer depression!

I was alerted to this story in yesterday`s Daily Mail but can`t find the link so here is the same story from Natural News.

If you think burning incense is just for certain religions or old hippies, it might be time to take a new look. Myriad religious traditions have held to the notion that burning frankincense incense (made out of resin from the Boswellia plant) is good for the soul and now a new study says it apparently is good for the brain.

The research, published on-line in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal ( , by an international team of scientists, including Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem researchers, concludes that burning frankincense activates specific ion channels in the brain. The result? Something right under our noses, incense, appears to quell anxiety and depression.

Another non-drug way to help these afflictions could be good news for millions. According to the National Institutes of Health, major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the United States for people ages 15 to 44 and affects about 14.8 million American adults. Anxiety disorders, which often go along with depression, affect 40 million Americans.

In a prepared statement for the press, one of the researchers, Raphael Mechoulam, stated that most present day worshipers assume that incense burning has only a symbolic meaning. However, there is much more going on when frankincense wafts into your nostrils."In spite of information stemming from ancient texts, constituents of Boswellia had not been investigated for psycho-activity. We found that incensole acetate, a Boswellia resin constituent, when tested in mice lowers anxiety and causes antidepressive-like behavior,” Dr. Mechoulam said.

To study frankincense’s psychoactive impact, the researchers administered incensole acetate to mice and discovered the compound significantly impacted areas in the brain intricately involved in emotions as well as in nerve circuits that are targeted by modern-day drugs currently used to treat anxiety and depression.

“Perhaps Marx wasn’t too wrong when he called religion the opium of the people: morphine comes from poppies, cannabinoids from marijuana, and LSD from mushrooms; each of these has been used in one or another religious ceremony.” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, in a press release. “Studies of how those psychoactive drugs work have helped us understand modern neurobiology. The discovery of how incensole acetate, purified from frankincense, works on specific targets in the brain should also help us understand diseases of the nervous system. This study also provides a biological explanation for millennia-old spiritual practices that have persisted across time, distance, culture, language, and religion. Burning incense really does make you feel warm and tingly all over!”

About the author

Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA’s "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic’s "Men’s Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.

Things you don`t expect to see no 2

I never thought to see the former shadow Home Secretary being lauded by a band. This is Billy Ruffian. I`m trying to remember if the Church in England has said anything on the huge extension of the period of detention without trial.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Communion in the hand: an indult

Many Catholics today regard the reception of Holy Communion in the hand as the norm and can`t conceive that anyone should prefer to have the host placed directly on the tongue. Yet an interview with the new papal MC, Mgr Marini, reminds us that permission for Communion in the hand is given by papal indult: i.e. it is a favour or privilege which could be revoked if the Pope saw fit. On Corpus Christi this year, in St Peter`s square, the Pope distributed Communion at Mass to forty-eight people who knelt and received on the tongue. It was said at the time that this was done to highlight the solemnity of the Eucharist on this special feast. However at the next public papal Mass at Santa Maria di Leuca and Brindisi, the same thing happened. In the interview Mgr Marini confirms that this will become the norm at papal Masses.

In Rome I bought a copy of the little book of Mgr Schneider, an auxiliary bishop in Kazakhstan, which argues for the re-introduction of kneeling and receiving on the tongue. The cardinal archbishop of Lima has recently revoked permission for receiving Communion in the hand in his diocese. Something is afoot. I think it is hard to argue against the desirability of kneeling to receive Holy Communion. some people don`t like receiving on the tongue and will say that as many sins can be committed by the tongue as by the hand and so there is nothing intrinsically better about receiving on the tongue. Yet I have seen it suggested that at the Last Supper it is not beyond possibility that Christ would place the host on his apostles` tongues as that was a known sign of friendship in that society.

But we must not forget a traditional practice of middle-eastern hospitality, which was practiced in Jesus' time and which is still the case: one feeds one's guests with one's own hand, placing a symbolic morsel in the mouth of the guest. And we have scriptural evidence of this as well: our Lord dipped a morsel of bread into some wine, and gave it to Judas. Did he place this wet morsel into Judas's hand? That would be rather messy. Did he not perhaps extend to the one whom he addressed later in the garden as "Friend" the gesture of hospitality spoken of above? And if so, why not with Holy Communion, "giving himself by his own hand."

Communion on the tongue emphasises the role of the priest at pastor who feeds his people with the bread of heaven.

Anyway, this is what Mgr Marini had to say to the Osservatore Romano. H/T to Rorate Caeli.

In the recent visit to Santa Maria di Leuca and Brindisi, the Pope has distributed communion to the kneeling faithful in the mouth. Is it a practice destined to become usual in papal celebrations?

I think so. Regarding it, it should not be forgotten that the distribution of communion in the hand still remains, from a juridical viewpoint, an indult from the universal law, granted by the Holy See to those Episcopal Conferences who have made a request for it. The mode adopted by Benedict XVI tends to underline the force of the norm valid for the entire Church. In addition, a preference could perhaps be seen for the use of this mode of distribution, which, without eliminating anything from the other, puts into light better the truth of the real presence in the Eucharist, aids the devotion of the faithful, introduces with greater ease the sense of mystery. Aspects which, in our age, pastorally speaking, it is urgent to underline and recover.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The feast of St Josemaria, Thursday June 26th

I have no formal links with Opus Dei. I first came across them in Rome when I was studying for a canon law licence. I was invited to an afternoon of recollection which was given by Fr Andrew Byrne. I enjoyed the talks very much and began to look forward to each recollection. Shortly after I returned to this diocese, Fr Andrew also returned to England and he suggested we try to organise a recollection for priests up here. As I had enjoyed his talks so much this seemed a good idea and so Fr Byrne has been coming to the diocese, with the permission of the bishop, since then. Fr Byrne gave a parish talk here in 2005 on `What is Opus Dei?` which, since it was during the height of the Da Vinci Code episode, drew a good crowd. This year we have had our first recollection by Fr Stephen Reynolds who is based in Glasgow. We have also had a couple of evenings of recollection for lay men which have gone well. I have to admit I know very little about St Josemaria and will need to swot up for Thursday. I have had a book of his sermons since my days in seminary. However there must be something to him given the organisation he left behind. I can safely say that all the priests of Opus Dei that I have met have been very impressive. I have always found them to be courteous, intelligent and devout. So I was happy this year when I was asked if we would like to receive a free `Mass kit` for St Josemaria`s feast day on Thursday so that we could make something of it together with other parishes around the country. I have no idea who will be the next bishop of Hexham and Newcastle but I think we could do very much worse than a priest of Opus Dei.

Monday, June 23, 2008


While I was in Rome an email arrived from Professor Colin McGuckin whose colleague, Dr Nico Forraz, is a parishioner here at St Mary`s, as I have mentioned before. Colin and Nico are at the forefront of research on cord blood stem cells and I`m glad to see this has been recognized by the Church in that Professor Colin McGuckin has been made be a Member of the Pontifical Academy of Life.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Parish Pilgrimage to Rome 9th-16th June

I`m a great believer in pilgrimages as a way of building up the parish. The last one I had was in 2004 when I took a group along the road to Santiago de Compostela which was a great success. However since the somewhat difficult times since moving parish in 2005 I`ve not got round to organising anything. however as I settle in I thought this would be a good year to try to go somewhere so I arranged with Anthony Coles to take a group to Rome and the English College villa in the Alban hills at Palazzola.

Sixteen pilgrims set out on Monday afternoon on June 9th. It was such a relief not to have to get the 7.30am flight to Rome from Newcastle but to go at the more civilized time of 4.30pm. Some of the group had never been to Rome before. From Tuesday to Saturday lunchtime we visited the main places of pilgrimage led by Anthony Coles our excellent guide. We also visited many places which were more off the beaten track. Although I`ve been to Rome many times I`d never seen the church of Santa Maria della Navicella or the basilica of SS John and Paul. Each day we had Mass in an interesting place. On the first day it was the church of San Gregorio on the Caelian hill, on the second in the church of St Alphonso with the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, on Thursday in the basilica of St Paul`s outside the Walls,

on Friday in the Irish chapel in the crypt of St Peter`s and on Saturday at the catacombs of St Callixtus. We arrived at Palazzola (seen here from Castel Gandolfo) for lunch on Saturday and spent the next two nights there visiting Castel Gandolfo on the Sunday afternoon as well as going to Genzano for the Corpus Christi festival when a street is covered with floral designs over which the Blessed Sacrament procession moves. While many of the designs were religious I was a little surprised to see that the design at the top of the hill was a tribute to Gustav Klimt! On Monday we left for Subiaco (erstwhile home of St Benedict and Gina Lollabrigida!) and Tivoli before flying back to Newcastle in the evening. While we did not have a Mass in the Extraordinary Form we had on one day the Kyrie and Agnus Dei and the next the Sanctus to Missa de Angelis or Orbis Factor led by a member of the schola. We also had a plainchant antiphon relevant to the feast we or place each day at the offertory. It must be said that in may of the churches in which we had Mass the Benedictine revolution has not caught on. In one we had the two candles at one end of the altar and a bunch of flowers at the other but that was topped by an altar that had the two candles at one end and a collection basket at the other!

On Wednesday we got to St Peter`s square at 8.30am for the papal audience at 10.30 to ensure we got to a good position.

Everyone seems to have enjoyed it very much and I hope we will go on pilgrimage again next year. I`d like to go back to Santiago, following the route through Burgos and Leon but I`ve never been to the Holy Land so we may go there.

As one member of the group had his video camera with him we hope to have a social night in the parish soon to watch the film.

Book Launch at Trinity and All Saints

I received this information when I was away.

'Worship as a Revelation', an important new book on the Catholic Liturgy by Laurence Paul Hemming

The past, present and future of Catholic liturgy by Laurence Paul Hemming (Continuum Books/Burns & Oates)

Monday 23 June

Solemn Mass in the Chapel at 7.30 pm followed by a reception in the Conference Suite

Wine and light buffet

This event is by invitation only but anyone interested in going can contact Ben Whitworth to request an invitation.

I`m glad to see a significant liturgical event happening in the Northern Province (even if Leeds is somewhere in the south as regards Newcastle). I have heard it said that the majority of Catholics in England live in the north. However all the interesting events seem to happen in London and the south so this is a welcome change. I hope it goes well.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Something completely different

Northumbrian Water is starting to treat churches as businesses rather than charities and charging churches for the amount of area (i.e. roofs and car parks) that will collect rainwater and discharge it into the sewer network. This could raise most churches’ water bills by hundreds if not thousands of pounds - especially any with extensive roofs and lots of gutters.

The Bishops of Newcastle, Durham, and Hexham and Newcastle have already written to Northumbrian Water and OFWAT and to local MPs about this issue but unfortunately with no effect- Northumbrian Water say that they are acting within the rules and making a change in this area would disadvantage their other customers. There is now an online petition asking the Prime Minister to instruct water companies to change their policy. Please register and pass this email onto anyone else you think will sign it. The petition needs at least 15,000 signatures to be noticed and at present stands at about 4,300 so responses are needed as soon as possible and not later than July 7th. You can register your name on the petition by clicking on the link below:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What a surprise!

The Independent Catholic News has a full report on the Mass at Westminster cathedral!

Here are all 1,042 words:

LONDON -16 June 2008

Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos celebrates Traditional Latin Mass at Westminster Cathedral
On Saturday, at the invitation of the Latin Mass Society, Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei celebrated a Pontifical High Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in Westminster Cathedral.

A congregation of more than 1,500 which packed the side aisles for the service. It was the first time since the liturgical changes of 1969 that a Cardinal had celebrated the Extraordinary Form in Westminster Cathedral. The Mass (of St Basil the Great) was celebrated at the original High Altar ­ and was filmed by the LMS for subsequent transmission on EWTN. It will also be released as a DVD.

During the Mass, a message of welcome from Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor was read out and the Westminster Cathedral choir sang Palestrina's Missa Sacerdos et Pontifex.

During his Homily, Cardinal Castrillón told the congregation: "The Holy See is mindful of your love of the Extraordinary Form. My visit today and my celebration of this Pontifical Mass in the Classical Roman Rite is an indication of my personal support for your worthy aims and of the desire also of the Holy See to identify with them."

Before Mass began, the Cardinal in Cappa Magna processed along Ambrosden Avenue outside the Cathedral to be received at the West Door. He then processed into the Cathedral to go to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel to pray ­ included in his procession were almost 40 priests, Knights of four separate Orders, the Provost of the Cathedral Chapter and Abbots and Priors of various Orders. After praying he processed to the Sanctuary, pausing to bless many children. In the Sanctuary the Cardinal then vested at the Throne before commencing Mass.

The huge crowd of faithful gave a wonderful demonstration of 'active participation' when they sang the people's parts with gusto. During his Homily, Cardinal Castrillón also said: "All of us, priests and faithful, are called to unite ourselves and our sufferings to the offering of Christ. This is the most fundamental dimension of 'active participation' in the Mass."

After Mass, Cardinal Castrillón left immediately for Heathrow Airport to catch an early evening flight to Rome where he had commitments the following morning. The Cardinal's visit had lasted 24 hours but made a tremendous impact on the morale of those attached to the Extraordinary Form.

Cardinal Castrillón's visit began on Friday 13 June when he flew into Heathrow Airport at 4.20 pm to be welcomed by Mr Julian Chadwick, Chairman of the LMS. The Cardinal was driven to his London hotel where he had a private meeting with Archbishop Sainz Muñoz, the Papal Nuncio. Later he had a private dinner in The Travellers Club in St James's with the Committee of the LMS and the Cardinal's Sacred Ministers for the following day's Mass.

On Saturday morning, Cardinal Castrillón gave a press conference in which he stated that all parishes should offer the Extraordinary Form, preferably on a weekly Sunday basis, and that the Ecclesia Dei Commission will write to all seminaries asking them to provide training in the theology, rubrics and Latin of the Extraordinary Form. He also confirmed that a 'stable group' could consist of as little as two to three persons gathered from across parish boundaries.

The Cardinal went on to give an address to the LMS Annual General Meeting in Westminster Cathedral Hall. During his address, he said: "Pope Benedict XVI knows and deeply appreciates the importance of the ancient liturgical rites for the Church. That is why he issued a juridical document ­ a Motu Proprio ­ which establishes legal freedom for the older rites throughout the Church. It is important to understand that Summorum Pontificum establishes a new juridical reality in the Church."

"...superiors... must recognise that these rights are now firmly established in the law of the Church by the Vicar of Christ himself, This means that parish priests and bishops must accept the petitions and the requests of the faithful who ask for it [the Extraordinary Form] and that priests and bishops must do all that they can to provide this great liturgical treasure of the Church's tradition for the faithful."

He explained: "...two factors are necessary. Firstly, it is first of all important to find a centrally located church, convenient to the greatest number of the faithful who have requested this Mass. Secondly, it is crucial that there be priests willing to celebrate according to the 1962 Roman Missal and thus to provide this important pastoral service on a weekly Sunday basis. Bishops need to be sensitive to such pastoral provisions and to facilitate them. This is a fundamental intention of Summorum Pontificum."

"Let me say this plainly: the Holy Father wants the ancient use of the Mass to become a normal occurence in the liturgical life of the Church so that all Christ's faithful ­ young and old ­ can become familiar with the older rites and draw from their tangible beauty and transcendence."
After the AGM the Cardinal had a private meeting with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, and then attended an LMS lunch given in his honour, before he was escorted to the Sacristy of Westminster Cathedral to prepare for Pontifical Mass.

After the Mass and waving goodbye to Cardinal Castrillón's car, Mr Julian Chadwick, Chairman of the LMS, said: "This Pontifical Mass has been the high point of the LMS's 43 year struggle to preserve and re-introduce the Traditional Latin Rite. Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos has spoken very plainly during his visit, stressing the rights of the faithful and the duties of priests and bishops as established in the Holy Father's Motu Proprio. These new rights and duties are still sinking in but they are beginning to be better understood and they will result in a widespread re-introduction of the Extraordinary Form in the life of the Church in England and Wales over the next few years. The LMS will work tirelessly to accomplish the clear wish of Pope Benedict. We invite all the priests and bishops of England and Wales to work with us".
For more information see:

Source: LMS

© Independent Catholic News 2008

Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos` address to the Latin Mass Society

I just returned from a parish pilgrimage to Rome at midnight last night. The last post was sent from the lovely surroundings of the English College villa at Palazzola. More on the pilgrimage once I get my camera sorted out. However Old Believer`s comment on the last post drew my attention to this address by the cardinal to the LMS. H/T to the NLM blog. It is useful to have some things clarified, in particular the ruling on Holy Days. It is good to hear that the Mass can be celebrated on the original day so long as the feast is also celebrated on the transferred day too. So for this I imagine the 1962 calendar applies and there is no question of the original day being superseded by another feast day occurring in the calendar for that day. It is very encouraging to hear such praise for the LMS in what they have sought to do for so long with very little official encouragement. It is also useful to see the old canard that those seeking the EF must all be from the parish in which it is to be celebrated is laid to rest. While the ruling on the vernacular for the readings at Mass is made clear, in my experience in this country most of those who attend the EF prefer the readings to be in Latin but at least the priest does have a way of introducing the Mass with vernacular readings in places where the faithful may find Latin readings too difficult at first. The thornier issues of altar girls and communion under both kinds or the use of Extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist or even lay readers are still to be addressed.

I see this text not as contradicting that of the press conference but as a supplement. I wonder whether the bishops of England and Wales will have any comments to make in the light of this visit?

Address to the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales

London – 14th June 2008

Mr Chairman, Reverend Monsignori and Fathers, Ladies and Gentlemen;

I am grateful for your kind invitation and for your warm welcome. It is a pleasure to be present with you today in London and to address the annual general meeting of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.

I look forward to the joy of celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the great, historic and beautiful Westminster Cathedral for you this afternoon.

Today I would like to speak about three related subjects.

1. The first thing that I wish to say is that I appreciate the work which the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales has undertaken in the past four decades. You have worked with and under your bishops, at times without all of the results which you desired. Yet in all that you have done you have remained faithful to the Holy See and to the successor of Saint Peter. And you have been loyal during a very difficult time for the Church – a time that has been especially trying for those who love and appreciate the riches of her ancient liturgy.

Quite evidently these years have not been without many sufferings, but Our Blessed Lord knows them and will, in his Divine Providence, bring about much good from your sacrifices and from the sacrifices of those members of the Latin Mass Society who have not lived to be here today. To all of you, on behalf of the Church, I say: “thank you for remaining faithful to the Church and to the Vicar of Christ; thank you for not allowing your love for the classical Roman liturgy to lead you outside of communion with the Vicar of Christ!”

I also say, “Take heart!” for it is obvious from the many young people in England and Wales who love the Church’s ancient liturgy that you have done very well in preserving and handing on a love for this liturgy to your children.

2. Secondly, I wish to speak about the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of our beloved Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. I know what great joy the publication of Summorum Pontificum brought to your members and indeed to many faithful Catholics around the world. In response to the prayers and sufferings of so many people in these past four decades, Almighty God has raised up for us a Supreme Pontiff who is very sensitive to your concerns. Pope Benedict XVI knows and deeply appreciates the importance of the ancient liturgical rites for the Church – for both the Church of today and for the Church of tomorrow. That is why he issued a juridical document – a Motu Proprio – which establishes legal freedom for the older rites throughout the Church. It is important to understand that Summorum Pontificum establishes a new juridical reality in the Church.

It gives rights to the ordinary faithful and to priests which must be respected by those in authority. The Holy Father is aware that in different places around the world many requests from priests and lay faithful who desired to celebrate according to the ancient rites were often not acted upon. That is why he has now authoritatively established that to celebrate according to the more ancient form of the liturgy – the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as well the sacraments and other liturgical rites – is a juridical right, and not just a privilege accorded to all.

Certainly this must be done in harmony with both ecclesiastical law and ecclesiastical superiors, but superiors also must recognise that these rights are now firmly established in the law of the Church by the Vicar of Christ himself. It is a treasure that belongs to the whole Catholic Church and which should be widely available to all of Christ’s faithful. This means that parish priests and bishops must accept the petitions and the requests of the faithful who ask for it and that priests and bishops must do all that they can to provide this great liturgical treasure of the Church’s tradition for the faithful.

In this period immediately following the publication of the Motu Proprio our most immediate task is to provide for the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite where it is most desired by the faithful and where their “legitimate aspirations” have not yet been met. On the one hand no priest should be forced to celebrate according to the extraordinary form against his will. On the other hand those priests who do not wish to celebrate according to the 1962 Roman Missal should be generous in meeting the requests of the faithful who desire it.

As I see it, two factors are necessary. 1. It is first of all important to find a centrally located church, convenient to the greatest number of the faithful who have requested this Mass. Obviously, it must be a church where the parish priest is willing to welcome these faithful from his own and surrounding parishes. 2. It is crucial that there be priests willing to celebrate according to the 1962 Roman Missal and thus to provide this important pastoral service on a weekly Sunday basis. Often there may be one or more priests in a given deanery or section of a diocese who would be willing and even desirous of celebrating this Mass. Bishops need to be sensitive to such pastoral provisions and to facilitate them. This is a fundamental intention of Summorum Pontificum. It is particularly sad where priests are prohibited from celebrating the extraordinary form of the Mass because of restrictive legislative measures which have been taken and which run counter to the Holy Father’s intentions and thus to the universal law of the Church.

In this regard I am also pleased to commend the Latin Mass Society for its provision of the training session for priests at Merton College, Oxford, last summer, allowing many priests unfamiliar with the usus antiquior to learn how to celebrate it. I am very pleased to give my blessing to this initiative which will take place again this summer.

Let me say this plainly: the Holy Father wants the ancient use of the Mass to become a normal occurrence in the liturgical life of the Church so that all of Christ’s faithful – young and old – can become familiar with the older rites and draw from their tangible beauty and transcendence. The Holy Father wants this for pastoral reasons as well as for theological ones. In his letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum Pope Benedict wrote that:

"In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place."

3. This brings me to my third point. You are rightly convinced that the usus antiquior is not a museum piece, but a living expression of Catholic worship. If it is living, we must also expect it to develop. Our Holy Father is also of this conviction. As you know, he chose motu proprio – that is on his own initiative – to alter the text of the prayer pro Iudæis in the Good Friday liturgy. The intention of the prayer was in no way weakened, but a formulation was provided which respected sensitivities.

Likewise, as you also know, Summorum Pontificum has also provided for the Liturgy of the Word to be proclaimed in the vernacular without being first read by the celebrant in Latin. Today’s Pontifical Mass, of course, will have the readings solemnly chanted in Latin, but for less solemn celebrations the Liturgy of the Word may be proclaimed directly in the language of the people. This is already a concrete instance of what our Holy Father wrote in his letter accompanying the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum:

"the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard."Naturally we will be happy for your input in this important matter. I simply ask you not to be opposed in principle to the necessary adaptation which our Holy Father has called for.

This brings me to another important point. I am aware that the response of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” with regard to the observance of Holy Days of obligation has caused a certain amount of disturbance in some circles. It should be noted that the dates of these Holy Days remain the same in both the Missal of 1962 and the Missal of 1970. When the Holy See has given the Episcopal Conference of a given country permission to move certain Holy Days to the following Sunday, this should be observed by all Catholics in that country. Nothing prevents the celebration of the Feast of the Ascension, for example, on the prior Thursday, but it should be clear that this is not a Mass of obligation and that the Mass of the Ascension should also be celebrated on the following Sunday. This is a sacrifice which I ask you to make with joy as a sign of your unity with the Catholic Church in your country.

Finally I ask your prayers for those of us called to assist the Holy Father in Rome in this delicate work of facilitating the Church’s ancient liturgical tradition. Please be patient with us: we are very few and there is much work to be done. And there are many questions to be studied and sometimes we may make mistakes!

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, intercede for all in this land which is so beautifully called “the Dowry of Our Lady,” and through her prayers may all Christ’s faithful come to draw ever more deeply from the great riches of the Church’s sacred liturgy in all of its forms.

Darío Cardinal Castrillón HoyosPresidentPontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A fascinating press conference

Many thanks to Damian Thompson for this account of the press conference with Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos on the occasion of his visit to Westminster Cathedral to celebrate Mass according to the 1962 missal. I was very sorry that I couldn`t be there but all seems to have gone well. Here is the transcript:

Traditional Mass for 'all the parishes'

Yesterday Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, announced in London that Pope Benedict wishes to introduce the "Gregorian Rite" – meaning the former Tridentine Rite – to every parish in the Western Church.

This was such a huge announcement that many Catholics can hardly believe their ears. I was one of four journalists present. Here are edited extracts from the press conference, in which the Cardinal completely demolishes liberal interpretations of Summorum Pontificum:

Elena Curti (The Tablet): Your Eminence, I’d like to ask what you make of the response of the Bishops of England and Wales to the Pope's Motu Proprio.

Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos: I think it's a good one. There are some probems because it’s a new way of celebrating liturgy and they need time to prepare priests and catechists on the content of the Extraordinary Form.

Reuters: In some parts of the world there seems to be resistance on the part of local bishops to allow the faithful their full freedom to celebrate the Extraordinary Form. What do you recommend that the faithful do?

CC: To be informed. Many of the difficulties come out because they don’t know the reality of the Gregorian Rite – this is the just [correct] name for the Extraordinary Form, because this Mass was never prevented, never. Today for many bishops it is difficult because they don’t have priests who don’t know Latin. Many seminaries give very few hours to Latin – not enough to give the necessary preparation to celebrate in a good way the Extraordinary Form. Others think that the Holy Father is going against the Second Vatican Council. That is absolute ignorance. The Fathers of the Council, never celebrated a Mass other than the Gregorian one. It [the Novus Ordo] came after the Council … The Holy Father, who is a theologian and who was in the preparation for the Council, is acting exactly in the way of the Council, offering with freedom the different kinds of celebration. This celebration, the Gregorian one, was the celebration of the Church during more than a thousand years … Others say one cannot celebrate with the back to the people. This is ridiculous. The Son of God has sacrificed himself to the Father, with his face to the Father. It is not against the people. It is for the people …

Damian Thompson (Telegraph): Your Eminence, would the Holy Father like to see ordinary parishes in England with no knowledge of the Gregorian Rite introduced to it?

CC: Yes, of course. We cannot celebrate this without knowledge of the language, of the signs, of the ways of the Rite, and some institutions of the Church are helping in that way.

DT: So would the Pope like to see many ordinary parishes making provision for the Gregorian Rite?

CC: All the parishes. Not many – all the parishes, because this is a gift of God. He offers these riches, and it is very important for new generations to know the past of the Church. This kind of worship is so noble, so beautiful – the deepest theologians’ way to express our faith. The worship, the music, the architecture, the painting, makes a whole that is a treasure. The Holy Father is willing to offer to all the people this possibility, not only for the few groups who demand it but so that everybody knows this way of celebrating the Eucharist in the Catholic Church.

Anna Arco (The Catholic Herald): On that note, would you like to see all the seminaries in England and Wales teach the seminarians how to celebrate in the Extraordinary Form?

CC: I would like it, and it will be necessary. We are writing to the seminaries, we are in accord that we have to make deep preparation not only for the Rite, but for [teaching] the theology, the philosophy, the Latin language …

DT: What would be the practical steps for ordinary parishes [to prepare for the Gregorian Rite]?

CC: If the parish priest selects an hour, on Sundays, to celebrate the Mass, and prepare with catechesis the community to understand it, to appreciate the power of the silence, the power of the sacred way in front of God, the deep theology, to discover how and why the priests represents the person of Christ and to pray with the priest.

EC: Your Eminence, I think many Catholics are rather confused by this new emphasis on the Tridentine Rite, mainly because we were taught that the new Rite represented real progress, and many of us who have grown up with it see it as real progress, that there are Eucharistic ministers, women on the sanctuary, that we are all priests, prophets and kings. This new emphasis to many of us seems to deny that.

CC: What is progress? "Progredire", means [offering] the best to God… I am surprised, because many young people are enthusiastic with the celebration of the Gregorian Rite …

EC: In the Motu Proprio, the Pope's emphasis is on one Rite and two forms, and he describes the Tridentine Rite as "extraordinary". Extraordinary therefore means exceptional, not something that we celebrate every Sunday.

CC: Not "exceptional". Extraordinary means "not ordinary", not "exceptional."

EC: Should it therefore supersede the new Rite? Should we go back?

CC: It is not going back: it is taking a treasure which is present, but was not provided. … But it takes time. The application of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council took years. It takes time to understand the deep profundity of the old Rite. The Holy Father is not returning to the past; he is taking a treasure from the past to offer it alongside the rich celebration of the new Rite. The second Eucharistic prayer of the new Rite is actually the oldest one [in the Church’s entire liturgy]. It’s not a matter of confrontation but of fraternal dialogue.

DT: Will there be a clarification of the Motu Proprio?

CC: Not exactly a clarification of the Motu Proprio, but of matters treated in the Motu Proprio, such as the calendario, ordinations to the sub-diaconate, the way of using vestments, the Eucharistic fast.

DT: What about the "stable group"?

CC: It's a matter of common sense … In every bishop's household there are maybe three or four persons. This is a stable group … It is not possible to give two persons a Mass, but two here, two there, two elsewhere – they can have it. They are a stable group.

DT: From different parishes?

CC: No problem! This is our world. Managers of enterprises don’t live in one place, but they are a stable group.

More on this later. The Cardinal went on to celebrate a traditional Pontifical High Mass at Westminster Cathedral, the first time this has happened since the 1960s. Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor was not present, but had a brief (and rather cool) message of welcome read out on his behalf. No Westminster bishop attended this great event

Friday, June 06, 2008

Petition for Wider Provision of Tridentine Latin Sunday Mass

H/T to Holy Smoke for this petition for a wider availability of the Extraordinary Form Mass on a Sunday in the UK. I know of a group that is struggling to get a Sunday Mass at the minute and finding themselves obstructed by those who refuse to read Summorum Pontificum in the spirit in which it is intended and I imagine would rather wish it would all go away. Damian says the petition may be presented to Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos when he celebrates this form of Mass at Westminster Cathedral on June 14. If you would like to support this petition click here.

Despite the attempts to ruin the petition and the problem of some people having signed twice Damian says it will be tidied up before it is sent anywhere so it is till worth signing.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Anglican uniate status a possibility?

I had lunch today with a former Anglican cleric, now a Catholic priest and we wondered what the possibility will be for a Uniate Anglican Church. Surely if many of the good things from the Anglican tradition could be preserved in communion with Rome this would be a powerful force for evangelisation in this country. Tonight I came across this story about the TAC (Traditional Anglican Communion) which is hoping for just such a scenario to come about. Here`s the story:

Traditionalists wait for Vatican ruling
The Church of England Newspaper
June 6, 2008

AN ANNOUNCEMENT on the Vatican 's relationship with the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) may be made following the July 16-Aug 3 Lambeth Conference, sources in Rome tell The Church of England Newspaper.

Leaders of TAC, home to over 400,000 Anglo-Catholics who have left the Episcopal and Anglican churches over the past thirty years, have been in talks with the Vatican over creating an Anglican-rite enclave under the authority of the Bishop of Rome.

While the curia under Pope John Paul II had opposed attempts to bring Anglicans en masse into the Roman Catholic fold, under Benedict XVI the Vatican appears to have adopted a different line. Anglicans wishing to be received into the Catholic Church are welcome to do so, as individuals, rather than as part of a larger ecclesial body. The talks between TAC and Vatican , however, have focused on allowing whole groups to enter the Catholic Church while maintaining their own orders and liturgy.

The National Catholic Register reported that "discussions at the Vatican on devising a possible structure for [TAC] to come into communion with Rome are understood to be nearing completion." It added that during their May 5 meeting, Archbishop Rowan Williams asked Benedict that "any potential announcement be delayed until after the Lambeth Conference."

However, a spokesman for Dr Williams told CEN the report was untrue. The TAC issue "didn't come up with the Pope," a press spokesman for the Archbishop said.

The Rt Rev David Moyer, former president of Forward in Faith USA and a Bishop in TAC, also declined to comment on the negotiations with Rome , stating only that "We in the TAC are on our knees for something positive to happen. We remain very hopeful."

The Bishop of Fort Worth, the Rt Rev Jack Iker -- who is currently in Rome on study leave -- told The Church of England Newspaper "conversations with TAC - and others-have taken place at high levels in the Vatican and that it is thought that the Pope is sympathetic to the dilemma of traditionalists in the Anglican way."

However, no formal dialogue exists between TAC and the Congregation for Promoting Christian Unity -- the Vatican agency tasked with ecumenical relations.

Speculation on a possible Anglican enclave within the Catholic Church comes amidst a tightening of views on women bishops within the Church of England. One traditionalist leader speculated that the House of Bishops' decision to go ahead with women bishops without providing safeguards for those opposed, may have been predicated on the calculation that the Catholic Church would resolve the women clergy issue for the Church of England.

Vatican III

Nice to read today that preparations are being made for the third Vatican Council. Strangely it will be launched in South Korea because that is the base of the excomunicated Archbishop Milingo whose initiative it is. So nothing to do with the Vatican then. I think he probably incurs another penalty for trying to organise a General Council without a Pope. Canon 1372 establishes a censure for taking recourse against an act of the Pope to an ecumenical council so I`m sure trying to call one without the consent of the Pope would also be punishable.

Here`s the story from the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation:

Ex-communicated Catholic Archbishop, Emmanuel Milingo says the Movement for Married Priests is in the process of establishing the third Vatican Council to shape the future of the renewed Catholic Church.

Archbishop Milingo said the third Vatican Council will be launched in South Korea before the end of this month.

He told ZNBC news shortly before he and his wife Maria Sung left for South Korea that proposals for the foundation have already been made.

Archbishop Milingo also said the movement is preparing for the Universal Peace Federation meeting.

He indicated that faith based groups will soon hold a symposium on Catholicism.

Archbishop Milingo boasted that his organisation will provide air tickets for delegates from the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) if they are willing to attend the ceremony.

The Archbishop, 78, leads 150,000 married priests across the world.

He was ex-communicated for holding divergent views from the Catholic Church and marrying priests.

Newish Blog

Today I stumbled across the Latin Mass Society blog for the diocese of Leeds which makes an interesting read and has some good pictures. Maybe Hexham and Newcastle should have something similar.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Sorry about the recent lack of posting. I can`t think of very much to say. Recent highlights included a May procession at both Longbenton and Forest Hall which involved both schools. The Longbenton procession was particularly good as we walked out of the school and through the local estate and by the main road into the church. The school had made four large banners and last year`s first Holy Communion girls wore their white dresses and the children entered into it very well singing the Lourdes hymn and Bring Flowers of the Rarest as well as others.

Both processions ended with a simple Benediction to introduce the children to it. At Forest Hall we were hampered by having to cross the main road to get the children from school and so they simply came to church and we went out into the garden to say prayers at the Lourdes grotto. Maybe next year when Corpus Christi is a bit later and not in May we can also have a Corpus Christi procession. I have found a canopy at Longbenton and all it needs is to buy four poles to use it.

Apart from that I follow with great interest recent attempts to put obstacles in the way of Summorum Pontificum, which continue with extraordinary attention to detail. I wonder what is delaying the promised instruction? I look forward to hearing what Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos has to say at Westminster cathedral but wonder whether his words will carry this far north?