Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lost Missals

This morning when at SS Peter and Paul`s Longbenton, I found a Latin Mass missal belonging to one of our EF regulars. I often find an odd missal or two left in church after an EF Mass. The congregation varies in size between 15 and 40. If the EF really takes off in a big way I would expect that the numbers of missals left behind would also increase. People rarely write their names in their missals but by playing a Catholic equivalent of the TV show `Through the keyhole` where viewers had to guess the celebrity owner of a house by viewing their home and possessions so I often have to try to determine whose missal I`ve found by examining the holy pictures and memorial cards. It does also surprise me that often people don`t always come looking for their missal. I suppose if I had a regular congregation of hundreds of people I`d just have a box at the back of church for lost missals.
In my previous parishes I have always said that one of the advantages of the priesthood is that I need never buy an umbrella as there are normally always a supply from those left behind. Sadly this golden rule doesn`t seem to apply north of the Tyne however. In fact very little is left behind, apart from Latin Mass missals, although I still wonder why no-one has ever reclaimed the mobile phone left in church.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bishop released from clerical obligations

It may be the canonist in me but I thought this story was worthy of note. It has always been my understanding that bishops are not granted such a dispensation. They can be excommunicated (as with archbishop Lefebvre and the bishops he consecrated or archbishop Milingo and as it seemed bishop Lugo may have been) but not released from the obligations of the clerical state. On the other hand the old Pontifical has the dramatic rite of degradatio whereby a bishop has to remove the signs of his episcopal rank which seems to indicate it has happened before. A discussion of possible cases can be found here.

So it is interesting to see that the Holy See has granted this to bishop Lugo so that he can take up his new job of president of Paraguay. Here is the full story from the Associated Press:

Vatican lets Paraguayan leader quit as bishop


ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) — Paraguay's president-elect has received unprecedented permission from the pope to resign as bishop, the papal nuncio said Wednesday, ending a dispute over Fernando Lugo's priestly status.

Church officials earlier insisted that Lugo, 57, would always be a bishop under church law.
"This is the first case within the church in which a bishop receives a dispensation," Nuncio Orlando Antonini said at a news conference. "Yes, there have been many other priests the pope has left in the status of layman, but never a member of the hierarchy until today."

Lugo also made history with April's presidential election victory, which ended the 61-year rule of the Colorado Party in Paraguay. The former "bishop of the poor" takes office on Aug. 15.

"It's a great pain for the church to lose a bishop, a priest whom we tried to dissuade from the political option up to the last day of his election campaign," Antonini said. "But the Holy Father recognized that he was elected by the majority of the people to lead Paraguay for the next five years."

Lugo resigned as bishop of San Pedro in 2004 and said he had resigned from the status of bishop itself in 2006, when he decided to run for president. That alarmed church leaders who said it violated papal rules against priestly involvement in politics.

The president of the Paraguayan Bishops Conference, Ignacio Gogorza, told the newspaper Ultima Hora in 2006 that Lugo might even be excommunicated for his plunge into politics.
"A bishop does not stop being a bishop just because he resigns," Gogorza said at the time.
Antonini said Wednesday's announcement follows "long analysis" by Vatican experts in canon law.

Lugo remains a member of the church and was not excommunicated, unlike former Zambian Archbhishop Emmanuel Milingo, who was excommunicated in 2006 after ordaining married men as priests and taking a wife himself.

The nuncio said the decision is final: Lugo "cannot return to his earlier condition as a cleric." Lugo earlier had suggested he would like to be bishop again after serving as president.
Antonini said Lugo even "was freed from the vow of chastity. That is to say, like any other layman, if he wants, he could contract matrimony under civil law." Lugo has not indicated any wish to marry, and his sister Mercedes is to serve as first lady.

He has also maintained an austere lifestyle, even wearing the sort of sandals he used as a priest, and apparently remains devout.

Lugo's niece, Mirta Maidana, who serves as an aide to the incoming first lady, announced this week that the president's office would reopen a Catholic chapel at the presidential residence that had been closed under outgoing President Nicanor Duarte, a Mennonite. She said the chapel would be open to the public.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Ushaw at 200

I have been reading the new issue of the Northern Catholic History magazine. This year marks the bi-centenary of the college. Fr David Milburn has an article in about the celebrations of the first centenary which I`ve just finished. There was a major celebration at Ushaw in 1894 to mark the centenary of the establishment of the seminary at Crook Hall after the closure of Douai. Fr Milburn writes that for Ushaw 1794 was a date of greater significance than 1808 as it marked the start of seminary training in the North. What particularly interested me was the choice of music.

For the main Mass of the 1894 celebrations held on Sunday 14th October celebrated by bishop Wilkinson of Hexham and Newcastle, in the presence of three archbishops (Westminster, Glasgow and Edinburgh: the archbishop of Glasgow, Charles Eyre, had been a priest of Hexham and Newcastle.). Fr Milburn writes of the music:

The music chosen and sung by the college choir included the Gloria from Haydn`s second Mass, the credo from Gounod`s Messe Solonnelle de Ste Cecilie and the remainder from Adolf Kaim`s Mass of St Cecilia with the offertory piece, Confirma Hoc Deus by the popular J. Richardson.

The Tablet correspondent wrote:

The music was throughout rendered with a most impressive mass of voices and an admirable balance of parts in the harmony; the glorious burst of thanksgiving at the opening of the Gloria being most effective, the bass solo at the Qui tollis being rendered with a deeply rich and sympathetic quality.

I was interested to know what music was sung at the 1908 celebration in the aftermath of St Pius X`s Tra le Sollecitudini (Instruction on Sacred Music) of 1903 which condemned operatic Mass settings. While writing this article Fr Milburn rang and I asked him about it and he thought there wasn`t a record of the music for that occasion but that it took Ushaw a long time to catch up with this and that Gregorian chant didn`t get seriously under way at Ushaw until the 1930`s although there had been some experiments in the 1890`s.
Fr Milburn writes that at the 1908 celebrations Canon Billington declared that the recent papal writ against Modernism had no need to be served on Ushaw because the Ushaw spirit was famous for its simplicity and loyalty. I wonder what the reaction had then been to the 1903 instruction? In watching the two films of High Mass at Ushaw from 1960 and 1962 it is interesting to see the new rubrics of the 1962 missal being observed on the later film so there was no delay in following the latest directives there. I wonder if there is any evidence for the reaction to Pius X`s instruction in the years before chant really got under way at Ushaw with Canon Hollis?

Not going to Oxford

Well the LMS training week begins at Oxford this week at Merton college. I hope there is a good turn out and that all goes well. People keep asking me if I am going. I`ve been celebrating the EF since 1990 so am familiar with the rubrics. I have allowed my singing of the Gospel and even the collect to become a little careless recently but I can remedy that with more preparation. I haven`t been asked to help out in any way. I suppose I could do with help in learning the ceremonies for a Pontifical Mass but the chances of me taking part in one are fairly remote unless we get a very Motu friendly new bishop for the diocese.
Anyway I really hope it is a great week in Oxford and that it bears much fruit for the Church in England and Wales.

Friday, July 25, 2008

New Mass texts getting closer

Today the bishops of the USA have received approval for the new translation of the ordinary of the OF Mass. It can`t be long before the same happens in England and Wales.

Vatican Approves New English Translation For The Order Of Mass
WASHINGTON— The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has received approval (recognitio) from the Holy See’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments for the new English-language translation of the Order of Mass (Ordo Missae).

This is the first section of the translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal. It includes most of the texts used in every celebration of the Mass, including the responses that will be said by the people.

In its letter, the Congregation pointed out that while the texts are binding, the approval “does not intend that these texts are to be put into use immediately.”

Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation, explained the reasons for providing the text at this time. The purpose is to provide “time for the pastoral preparation of priests, deacons and for appropriate catechesis of the lay faithful. It will likewise facilitate the devising of musical settings for parts of the Mass.”

The text is covered by copyright law and the Statutes of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

The more significant changes of the people’s parts are:

et cum spiritu tuo is rendered as “And with your spirit”

In the Confiteor, the text “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” has been added

The Gloria has been translated differently and the structure is different from the present text

In the Preface dialogue the translation of “Dignum et justum est” is “It is right and just”

The first line of the Sanctus now reads “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts”

The response of the people at the Ecce Agnus Dei is “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
At this time, no date is available as to when the entire translation of the Roman Missal will be released.

For media inquiries, e-mail us at
commdept@usccb.orgDepartment of Communications 3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington DC 20017-1194 (202) 541-3000 © USCCB. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Journal

Many blogs have mentioned this today but as I had a request to publicise it I will. I hope to subscribe too. For further details click here.

Usus Antiquior

A journal dedicated to the Sacred Liturgy edited by Laurence Paul Hemming & Alcuin Reid under the auspices of the Society of St. Catherine of Siena

"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 behoves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.” - Pope Benedict XVI

These sentiments – with which Pope Benedict XVI introduced his vital motu proprio Summorum Pontificum – encapsulate the function and scope of Usus Antiquior.Usus Antiquior is committed to the study and promotion of the historical, philosophical, theological and pastoral aspects of the Roman rite as developed in tradition. Because the different forms of the Roman rite “can be mutually enriching,”
Usus Antiquior also seeks to make a positive contribution to the discussion of questions pertinent to the liturgical life of the Church in our day.

"We welcome the foundation of the scholarly journal Usus Antiquior as an important initiative. Yet another fruit of the reinvigoration of the ancient liturgical rites in the Western Church begun by Pope Benedict XVI, it will help consolidate their place in the life of the Church of today and for the future. Not only priests, seminarians and academics, but anyone who wants to understand the Mass and the other rites of the Roman Church will seek this journal out and study it.” - The Latin Mass Society

We are most grateful for any gifts received in support of this work. Holy Mass is offered monthly for our benefactors.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Oh well

It seemed too good to be true. Here is Damian Thompson`s report on the decision not to go ahead with a personal parish for the EF in Liverpool. Maybe the church will be sold to become a fitness centre or something.

Mass at Dilston

Last night I went to Dilston to celebrate Mass. It was a lovely summer`s evening and the Tyne valley looked stunning. It was good to see about six or seven parishioners from St Mary`s there as well as others with an interest in Dilston or enthusiasts for the Extraordinary Form. There must have been about thirty people in the tiny chapel including the choir.
When I got there, having prepared something to say about St Mary Magdalene, I was told that that was the chapel`s dedication which was a more than happy coincidence. It is two year`s since I last said Mass at Dilston but I hope to go again next year. I am happy to report that there is now a more serviceable table to be used as an altar together with it`s own frontal. I only took four candlesticks as I remember the altar last time being very small indeed but while it was still quite small it was manageable.
The choir stalls that can be seen in the picture were added when the church was taken over for Anglican worship after the Radcliffes left the site. Being built in 1616 for Catholic worship this chapel is certainly the oldest post-Reformation Catholic chapel in the diocese and I wonder how many others there are in the country of a similar vintage? It is now owned by the North Pennines Heritage Trust and was deconsecrated for Anglican worship quite a while ago. We had a retiring collection for the Friends of Historic Dilston on whose website there is a great deal of information about Dilston and the Radcliffes.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Priest Bloggers

There have been a few stories floating around to the effect that bishops are looking to regulate the activity of priests in the blogosphere. I think the story broke on the Mulier Fortis blog. Fr Steven Fisher, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at this year`s Canon Law Society conference in Rome, has applied himself to producing a series of posts on this topic examining what canon law has to say. While it is certinly right that bishops should have the power to rein in a priest blogger if his blog is considered harmful to the faith or slanderous, it will be interesting to see what emerges. Fr Fisher makes the following useful point:
Realistically parish priests put more matters concerning faith and morals in their weekly newsletters. One could probably put an argument for requesting an imprimatur on every parish priest's column in his weekly newsletter (particularly if he makes it available to the whole world by putting it on the parish website...)

If all parish websites are to be regulated too then the diocesan censors are going to be very busy people!

New English Mass Texts

H/T to Fr Finigan for alerting us to the use of the new texts at the Papal Mass at World Youth Day for the English Mass that we will all be using soon. Father has given us the text of the Gloria which is a vast improvement on what we have had for last few decades. It reads:

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father. Lord Jesus Christ, Only begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer. You are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Let`s hope that it won`t be long before we can start using these texts. I`m particularly looking forward to having a faithful translation of the Roman canon.
I was talking to some priests last week who were complaining about the proposed (accurate) translation of et cum spiritu tuo as `And with your spirit`. I said that I too was unhappy. If this was going to be translated into a real old English version it should, I presume, be rendered `And with Thy Ghost`.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Miracle in Northumberland Street?

This story appears in the local evening paper, The Evening Chronicle, tonight.

YOU don’t have to make a pilgrimage to Lourdes – miracles can happen here.

At least that’s what one amazed mum believes after her daughter was suddenly cured of a hearing problem following an encounter with a nun.

Ashley Huthart, top with daughter Celsee, is convinced she witnessed a miraculous recovery taking place, not at the foot of a holy shrine, but outside Marks & Spencer, on Newcastle’s Northumberland Street.

She believes Celsee, three, was instantly cured of her hearing problems when a nun touched her hand and blessed her there on the busy street.

And now the 27-year-old, who has never followed any religion, is desperate to find the woman she believes cured her child.

She said: “It was amazing. She has had problems with her hearing since she was born but now she can hear everything. It is so strange. I have never believed in God or anything like that before but it must have been that. I’m going to go back and find that nun to say thanks.”

Little Celsee was born with a genetic disorder called Di George Sydrome, a condition that has left her with heart and kidney problems, partially deaf and unable to talk.

On the day of her ‘miraculous’ recovery Ashley, of Walker, Newcastle, and her daughter were spending time on Northumberland Street between hospital appointments. The youngster, who has worn hearing aids throughout her life had been due to visit her consultant at the Freeman Hospital for a check that very afternoon.

Celsee’s nursery support worker, Kay Dixon, who was with them, spotted the nun collecting for charity and gave Celsee some cash.

“When Celsee put her money in, the nun said: ‘Bless you’ and touched her hand,” Ashley added. “Then she went for her hearing test and she could hear everything.”

Staff at Walkergate Early Years nursery are contacting local convents to see if they can find the nun.

If you know the nun call the Chronicle on (0191) 201 6446.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I`ve never listened to one of Fr Z`s podcasts before but I decided to try the current one as it features an interview with Fr Tim Finigan about introducing the Extraordinary Form of Mass into a parish. It is rather long at 52 minutes and the first part is about St Bonaventure but I did enjoy the interview. I was interested to hear what was said as I`ve just finished an article for the Latin Mass Society magazine on the same topic for the next issue.

Fr Finigan makes the point that most of the strong opposition to the EF comes from the older age group and much of what he describes sounds very familiar. Of course things are never that simple as I know younger people who get angry about it and older ones who enjoy it. This past Sunday we had the second of the revived `Chant Sunday` Masses. This is the Novus Ordo in English except that we had the Orbis Factor setting of the ordinary. I invited people to sit down and just listen to the Kyrie and Gloria as I think some of the problems come from the congregation feeling that they have to join in and can`t. I hope after a few more Sundays of listening people may want to join in. (While there were one or two complaints this Sunday I`m glad to say that we had far more praise and people seemed to enjoy the more contemplative style of music. We try to balance things by having a Youth Mass on the first Sunday with guitars and about every two months we have a choir, the Voices of Hope, which is mainly made up of the Philippino members of the congregation.)

Sometimes people say that they don`t like Latin at Mass as the children can`t understand it. I`m delighted to say that St Mary`s primary school have started learning Orbis Factor and next term we will be running the excellent Minimus course as an after school activity.

Do try the podcast as there are many good things in it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Motu Murmurs

Rocco Palmo on Whispers in the Loggia has an interesting piece today about archbishop Burke, the former archbishop of St Louis who has been appointed to be head of the Apostolic Signatura. I have heard some eminent canonists express the opinion that Summorum Pontificum is somewhat deficient canonically. Now it is revealed that Archbishop Burke was one of the people who worked on it and a more eminent canonist it would be hard to find. (However I`d still like to hear spelled out how the missal of John XXIII was never abrogated. It`s only of academic interest now but it would be nice to know. I`ve always believed it was obrogated ( i.e. a new law was passed, Missale Romanum, which in re-ordering the subject matter of previous legislation, effectively replaced it and Paul VI certainly said in a couple of allocutions that the new was now compulsory).

Rocco mentions the good archbishop`s recent ordination of priests for the Institute of Christ the King and suggests that he might be in the running to take over the Ecclesia Dei commission as its present head, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, while working hard, is 79 years old and could be looking forward to retirement at 80.


I know a number of bloggers on my blogroll have already mentioned this but it is extraordinary that the Pope`s Opus Dei hosts in Australia have made the Pope welcome to the extent that they have even provided an eleven month old kitten, Bella, for his amusement as he prepares for World Youth Day. So extraordinary that the Vatican spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi, has said he knows nothing about it.
I have two cats and Dizzy, pictured above, is well-known in the parish. Every morning he tries to get into Mass. Sometimes he succeeds but is usually removed as he can become the centre of attention rather than the liturgy. However after Mass I can normally see him sitting on the other side of the glass door waiting to get back in to church so I let him through to see the sacristans. My other cat is much more of a recluse and not very keen to meet new people.
I was already a huge fan of Cardinal Ratzinger after the Ratzinger Report of 1985. Having a Pope with a fondness of cats and Mozart who has freed the 1962 missal is more than I thought was possible in this world. Ad multos annos!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Another Triumph for Ushaw

Following the news that Fr Simon Henry, who was a contemporary of mine at Ushaw, has been entrusted with a personal parish for the Extraordinary Form of Mass in Liverpool, while reading the Leeds Latin Mass Society blog I see that Fr Tim Wiley who was in my year, has been appointed Co-ordinator for the Extraordinary Rite of Mass in the diocese of Leeds. When we were at Ushaw there were about 160 students for the priesthood. At that time I knew about ten of the students were members of the Latin Mass Society. Not all of them got ordained by any means and some did and lost interest but I thought it was quite a healthy number. However that was back in the dark old days of the 1980`s when such things were not looked on favourably. I`m glad to see that some of us have survived and are now thriving under the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI!

More on Youth: from Australia

I came across this transcript of a radio programme, from ABC local radio in Australia, concerning World Youth Day and have been thinking about it quite a lot since then. The ex-priest says that many young Catholics have grown up with a greater emphasis on social justice than with the cult of relics. This may well be true. Is this what happens? I suppose it is easier to speak to young people`s idealism in terms of social change in trying to keep them interested in the faith but why do they need necessarily to be a Catholic to have a strong concern for social justice? If that is all the faith is presented to them as being then I think that approach lacks depth. They must also learn it is about eternal life and the forgiveness of sins. Anyway I`m still mulling this over but here is the transcript.

Old Catholic traditions could repel youth

PM - Wednesday, 9 July , 2008 18:33:00
Reporter: Paula Kruger

EDMOND ROY: As the Catholic Church's leadership attempts to deal with modern day problems, the upcoming World Youth Day celebrations has highlighted the revival of some of the Church's older traditions.
One of the more unusual practices has involved the bones of long-deceased Italian saints that are now on display for pilgrims at two Sydney churches.
While some Catholics are revelling in the presence of these relics, others are raising concerns the emphasis on older traditions could repel younger Catholics from the Church.
Paula Kruger reports.
PAULA KRUGER: World Youth Day is embracing a range of festivities, whether it be a dramatisation of the Stations of the Cross around the streets of Sydney or the Papal Cup soccer tournament.
But there are some events that are surprising local Catholics who aren't used to some of the religion's more macabre rituals.
A church in the inner-west is drawing in worshippers who want to pray at the bones of three Italian saints. Another church in the inner city is hosting the remains of an Italian blessed who died in 1925.
Bernie Quinn is a young musician and a member of the Opus Dei organisation. She says there isn't anything strange about visiting the relics of long dead Italian saints and blesseds.
BERNIE QUINN: The relics of Pierre Frassati, who's coming over from Italy. It's very exciting and I think they're relevant because he is a young person who died when he was 24 and I think the saints are an inspiration for us to help love Jesus more, really.
So I think no matter when in the Church's history, I think they'll always be relevant for people.
PAULA KRUGER: The worshipping of relics has surprised Rod Blackhurst, a lecturer in philosophy and religious studies at La Trobe University.
ROD BLACKHURST: The cult of relics and so forth is very specifically Catholic, and many people thought that the second Vatican Council had effectively marginalised or done away with a lot of that, but there seems to be revival of those things.
PAULA KRUGER: Why would that be making a comeback in this day and age?
ROD BLACKHURST: Yeah, that's an interesting problem and an interesting question. I'm really not sure. But, one thing is certain is that contemporary religion seems to be very polarised between liberal elements and a return to more conservative and traditional elements.
And so we are seeing a return to those more traditional forms of worship, what you would effectively call medieval forms of worship, side by side with more liberal and modernising elements.
PAULA KRUGER: The Second Vatican Council or Vatican II was an attempt to modernise the Church and move away from the biblical literalism of the past. So the young Catholics of today may not be aware of some of the older traditions that existed before the 1960s.
Dr Paul Collins is a former priest and author of Believers: Does Australian Catholicism have a Future?
He says many Catholics have grown up with a greater emphasis on social justice than saintly relics.
PAUL COLLINS: Well, they certainly haven't seen them I'd say, especially if they went to Catholic schools where the emphases would be quite different. I do think to some extent that this reflects much more the kind of religiosity of the organisers of World Youth Day, rather than the mainstream Catholic Church.
They would claim, you know, in their defence, that they were doing … that they were kind of maintaining the emphases that came through from Pope John Paul II, who I suppose is essentially the founder of World Youth Day.
But nevertheless, I think for Australian Catholics, and I think for Australians generally, these are kind of, you know, odd things that are different that people find a little hard to fit into any context and don't make much sense to them.
PAULA KRUGER: But Rod Blackhurst says the resurgence of relic worship and more pious ceremony may be what some Christians feel they need.
ROD BLACKHURST: The liberal agenda of the Second Vatican Council was very successful at taking apart and exposing the limitations of that old 1950s Catholicism that people from that generation would know.
But they weren't particularly good at replacing it with things. And so that there's a yearning amongst young people to go back and experience those things which they felt that had been lost and that perhaps were valuable.
PAULA KRUGER: So, a kind of spiritual element or a mystic element?
ROD BLACKHURST: Yeah, certainly a mystic element and a less of an emphasis on sociological and political religion. More mystical as you say and more devotional, yeah.
PAULA KRUGER: The relics of the Italians saints and blesseds aren't a permanent fixture in Australian religious life and will return to Italy after World Youth Day festivities.
EDMOND ROY: Paula Kruger reporting.

George Stephenson High School again

The visit of sixth formers from the local comprehensive was very enjoyable. Having about twenty young people at Mass who may never have been before made me think a lot about how they would see things and how I do things. The questions were partly about the church itself, Catholic life and also about the Reformation. I was asked to talk about how the Mass they had seen compared to Mass at the time of the Reformation so I tried to show what the Extraordinary Form would have been like. I was also asked to speak on how pervasive the Church was in everyday life on the eve of the Reformation. I hope that this will become an annual event and that maybe next year we can arrange for them to experience the EF.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Vatican regrets.....

A speedy response here from the Vatican Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity to yesterday`s Anglican decision to go ahead with the consecration of female bishops.

Summorum Pontificum Celebration

Last night we had a Missa Cantata and a social afterwards to celebrate the first anniversary of the Motu Proprio. While the attendance was not great, I thought it important to mark the day and give thanks for this great initiative of Pope Benedict which is bearing fruit in so many places. Unfortunately there is still a long way to go before the wish expressed by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos at Westminster that all Catholics know the EF as part of their liturgical experience is fulfilled. However I have no doubt that in time the apparent resistance to the EF will wither as Catholics come to see that the current Roman Rite has two forms, an ordinary and extraordinary, and they are here to stay. High profile events will help to bring acceptance. I hope that before the next anniversary we get to see Pope Benedict either celebrate the EF or have it celebrated in his presence. On a local level I`m looking forward to the Mass we are having at St Mary`s cathedral on September 13th, as that will be an important milestone in the life of the EF in this diocese. Courses of instruction for seminarians in their seminaries will also be a great boost: I hope Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos is getting those letters out to the seminaries as he said he would!

Also advocates of the EF have an important role in the way they act. I thought this piece by Fr Zuhlsdorf on Zenit today made a useful point:

For so long the ecclesiastical establishment looked down on and marginalized more traditional Catholics, shoving them to the back of the bus because of their attachment to our tradition. Some of the more benign saw them as being like our family’s nutty but harmless aunt up in the attic.

On the other hand, many traditionalists, perhaps out of the deep hurts and disillusionment they felt after all the changes in the Church, the silly season of illicit innovations, the ash-canning of our beautiful churches, music, vestments, statues, devotions, you name it, wound up with an enormous chip on their collective shoulder.

As time went by, many of them knew no other way to “negotiate” with bishops and priests but simply to get in their face, make pushy demands, and arrogantly tell them what to do. It got to a point where even clerics who were open and sympathetic started to wince and back away whenever traditionalists approached. And so the waters of good relations froze.

Now, because some of the pain and alienation is starting to melt away in the hearts of many traditionalists, now that they can simply have what they should have been able to have all along, now that a little warm sunshine is being beamed in their direction by the Holy Father and others who share his vision, pastors of souls are starting to unclench as well.

The ice is breaking up and the water is flowing again. This was not an unexpected development. I fully believed this would happen because traditionalists are mostly good people who love Holy Church and want the best for their families, priests and bishops.

Bishops and priests, even when they are not personally inclined to traditional things, are mostly good men who love their flocks and sincerely desire their good. They all share common ground in what really matters. What I am surprised by is that the breaking of the ice dam -- though there is a long way to go yet -- is happening so quickly.

I underestimated the warmth of the sunlight and the openness of hearts, especially on the part of some bishops who, as a body, have not shown themselves in the past to be very friendly to traditional liturgy. This has made me rethink my own attitudes.

Well said Fr Z.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

More on Anglicans and Rome

It`s interesting to see this story in the Telegraph about a conversation between the Vatican (the CDF) and senior Anglican bishops over what help they could be given in the face of their current difficulties. From what is reported here from bishop Kieran Conry it looks as if Rome might be willing to offer a more imaginative solution than as offered over the ordination of Anglican women priests.

The Rt Rev Kieran Conry, the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, said: "A number of Church of England bishops are looking at the options open to them should things go wrong at the Lambeth Conference. Some are hoping for accommodation with the Catholic Church, but yet maintaining their Anglican identity."

George Stephenson High School

I had a phone call during the week from a history teacher at the local comp. His class is studying the English Reformation and he thought it might be a useful exercise to bring them down to the local Catholic church to talk to the priest about pre-reformation England. I was delighted by this. Reading the papers I got the impression that the only history anyone studies at school nowadays is the Rise of the Nazis and the Fall of Apartheid so this was a pleasant revelation. They are coming down on Tuesday at 11. Later the same teacher rang back to ask if they could sit at the back for the 10am Mass. I had to explain that it might not give a very good impression of the medieval church thanks to a few reforms of Paul VI. Nonetheless they weren`t put off. The teacher tells me he is reading Eamon Duffy`s Stripping of the Altars at the minute. So I`m looking forward to the encounter.

At my own school, St Cuthbert`s Grammar in Newcastle, it was studying the Renaissance and Reformation at A level that really fired my interest in the faith. I can remember studying St Thomas Aquinas` five arguments for the existence of God in RE and also being made to listen to Jesus Christ Superstar but it was the history course that really engaged my interest.

BTW George Stephenson is the nearest we have in Forest Hall (or more precisely, West Moor) to a local hero as he lived here from 1804 to 1824 and built his first steam engine, The Blucher here. Dial Cottage was his home then and is marked as a place of historical interest although not open to the public.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Another new blog: Abbot Mark Hargreaves o.s.b.

This evening I stumbled across this new blog by one of the retired abbots of Prinknash, Abbot Mark Hargreaves, which looks as if it should be an interesting read. The community now only numbers twelve monks and has left the rather futuristic abbey built in 1972 and moved back into St Peter`s Grange where they started life. I have had for a long time the three volume work `The Celebration of Mass` by O`Connell published in 1940 which is illustrated with photos of the monks celebrating the Mass in the then provisional abbey church. I see from the website that they celebrate the EF Mass on a Saturday at 11 and on the first Sunday of the month at 3pm. ( I have the same arrangement!).

What is the Church saying about Religious Education in Today’s Catholic Schools?

Tomorrow night I`m going to a diocesan study evening at Ushaw with a group from St Stephen`s school, Longbenton on the theme of `What is the Church saying about Religious Education in Today’s Catholic Schools?` I`m just curious to see what is said. Tonight I`ll be swotting up on the diocese of Lancaster document about schools `Fit for Mission?` which has been hailed by archbishop Mauro Piacenza of the Congregation for Clergy. The Congregation have universal over-sight of catechesis in the Catholic Church. The archbishop wrote to bishop O`Donoghue of Lancaster in January saying, ‘The Congregation is especially pleased as your pastoral plan is precisely that which was called for in the “General Directory for Catechesis” after the release of the “Catechism of the Catholic Church`

Cardinal Levada of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote in March expressing his approval for the document. Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education also wrote “The publication will undoubtedly be a reliable resource for renewing the vitality of Catholic education in today’s society.”

So it sounds as if Fit for Mission? fits the bill for what the Church is saying about Religious Education in Catholic Schools. I look forward to hearing about it tomorrow night.

While searching the net I see there is an official Fit for Mission? blog.
UPDATE 04/07/08 It was all very different to what I expected. Our group was eight strong. There were only twenty-five there in total. The organisers were somewhat surprised to find that most of our group was made up of teachers although it had been advertised to staff. The evening was apparently for the non-professional. However while `Fit for Mission?` was never mentioned much was made of the bishops` conference document from 2000 on religious education in schools. I was satisfied that religious education was seen as being evangelistic for some pupils and catechetical for others. I had heard it said a while back that Catholic schools had nothing to do with catechesis and that religious education should be just information about religions and that catechesis should take place in the home and the parish and not the school. The only thing that concerned me was that we were given a list of things people thought religious education was meant to be about and we were told that `making good little Catholics` was the wrong answer. I`m not sure about the `little` but if a school is a centre for evangelisation and catechesis then the desire to pass on the faith to others and hope they remain or become Catholics should be there too.