Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rome Conference 1: the Talks, Day 1

Sorry to have been so slow to getting down to writing about the conference for English-speaking priests in Rome last week. I think it was only on Tuesday that I recovered from the 3am start we had to make on Monday 3rd January to get the 6am flight from Newcastle to Amsterdam and from there to Rome. (I went with another priest of this diocese who prefers not to be named.) There is only a direct flight from Newcastle in the summer nowadays. Although I slept most of the flight it never seems to make up for getting up in the middle of the night and once we got to the conference the pace was quite intense so I was mainly operating on adrenalin. However there was a lot going on to keep the adrenalin flowing.

After an introduction to the conference by Frs John Trigillio and John Walsh (chairmen of the CCC and ACCC respectively) we had Vespers in the Domus chapel at 5.30pm. I`ll be doing another post about the liturgies. This was OF Vespers in English celebrated with the Blessed Sacrament exposed. It was our first encounter with the Lassus Scholars who provided the music during the week and from the start we knew that we were in for a musical treat. They sang a Lassus Magnificat. However I`m trying to stay away from talking about the liturgy. The sermon was given by Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett of Lismore, Australia. What I enjoyed about this was that bishop Jarrett soon made it clear that he had suffered what we had suffered. It was encouraging to hear a bishop talk like this and I think it is the first time I`ve heard a diocesan bishop talk like this. Bishop Jarrett is a member of the ACCC so it should have come as no surprise but I`m so used to hearing how wonderful everything is from bishops that it was at the very least refreshing to hear a different point of view and one which reflected much of my and I`m sure most of the other particpiants` experience of life in the church as regards problems over catechesis and all the rest.

After dinner there was a talk by Mgr McDaid of the Congregation of Clergy which was probably the most stirring talk of the conference. He clearly had faced the same obstacles as many of us. He sounded the theme which was to be taken up by many talks during the week: that the priest is to be conformed to Christ. For couples who wanted to know how to be good parents his advice was that they love one another. For the priest his advice was to love God. I didn`t take notes but I think I remember him talking about a lady in a position of responsibility in the Church who made it known that she did not believe in the divinity of Christ. If anyone challenged this they were accused of having problems with relating to women! (I hope I have this right: if anyone can tell me if I`ve not, then do let me know.)
There was an oppprtunity to enjoy the first convivium of the conference after this but after such a long day I couldn`t wait to get to my bed.


Thomas More said...

Bishop Jarrett 'had suffered what we have suffered'.

Mgr McDaid 'had faced the same obstacles as many of us'.

What are these sufferings and obstacles?

To many lay people the life of priest appears to be one of great privilege. The rest of us have to pay our own bills as well as coping with some of the more difficult positions of the "Magisterium".

+ Richard Williamson said...

The Jews don't believe in the divinity of our Blessed Lord..and yet I am accused of "having problems" with them !

Fr Michael Brown said...

What a remarkably bitter post Thomas More. It is extraordinary that you should talk like this given that you were ready to give your life for your loyalty to the Magisterium over a matter that most people thought would all blow over soon and was not worth getting worked up over. Not sure why you put Magisterium in quotation marks. It is real.

It seems you have a very superficial view of priestly life. I think if you were to have asked many of the participants at the conference they could have told you tales of the difficulties and obstacles faced by a man seeking to be loyal to the Magisterium when many of those around him, including those responsible for his formation, were known for their dissent.

I`m not going to go into personal details here but suffice to say that I was told just over a year ago by a former bishop of this diocese that he was amazed I had persevered as a diocesan priest given the 20 years of frustrations and difficulties I had faced.

If you would like further confirmation have a look at the latest post on Fr Blake`s blog:

Simon Platt said...

Perhaps, Father, I might suggest a charitable interpretation of Thos. More's comments?

It seems to me that some priests, those who are prepared to go with the flow, do indeed have a cushy life.

On the other hand, however, it is clear to me that other priests, those who are not so prepared to compromise, find many obstacles placed in their path even by those in authority over them. I know at least one such in my native diocese, a man who has borne his ill-treatment with great patience and fortitude.

I was most interested to read your post - and Fr. Blake's, too.

Simon Platt said...

Crikey, Father,

I have just seen my earlier comment and note some ambiguities:

1. I didn't mean to imply that your comment was uncharitable. I meant to say that Thos. More's might be less uncharitable than you seemed to think.

2. By "not so prepared to compromise" I meant to say "not prepared to compromise in that way".