Friday, April 30, 2010

Moving an archbishop sideways

The Southwark priestly bloggers report that they have a new archbishop, Peter Smith, the archbishop of Cardiff.  For a thoughtful assessment of the appointment see, as always, Fr Blake. I had said I couldn`t think of another such appointment but of course as anonymous has pointed out in the com box there was archbishop Nichols., I suppose this didn`t register as that was a promotion given that he will eventually become a cardinal in the normal run of things.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ushaw: the LMS report

Just received this today:


Successful Latin Mass Society Priests’ Training Conference at Ushaw College, Durham, 12 – 16 April 2010 (Low Week)

Between Monday 12 and Friday 16 April the Latin Mass Society (LMS) hosted its fifth national residential conference in four years to train priests in the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The conference was held in Ushaw College, Durham, and twenty priests were trained.

This year, for the first time, the conference included separate tuition for laymen to become proficient MCs for the ceremonies of the Extraordinary Form. Ten laymen attended the course.

Among the clergy present were two young priests from the Archdiocese of Colombo, Sri Lanka, who had been sent by Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, ex-Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome. Archbishop Ranjith is actively reintroducing the Extraordinary Form into his diocese.

Apart from the expert small group tuition given by experienced priests, there were Latin classes and lectures, daily Lauds, Compline, Vespers, Rosary and Benediction. Each morning the college’s numerous side chapels were used by the priests to say their private Masses.

Traditional Rite liturgies were offered each day in the seminary’s magnificent St Cuthbert’s chapel and there were impressive opening and closing High Masses at which the Church’s treasury of plainchant and polyphony was heard.

At the conference dinner on the Thursday evening, a letter of support from Archbishop Ranjith was read out. The archbishop encouraged the LMS in its work of implementing the Motu Proprio and helping priests learn the Extraordinary Form of Mass and he congratulated the Society ‘in this beautiful undertaking in the name of the Church’s Tradition and orthodoxy which is our need and the need of the time’.

The LMS has already announced its next residential training conference to be held at Downside Abbey from Tuesday 10 to Friday 13 August. Full details are available from the LMS.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Plainchant for Beginners

I am delighted to say that there will be an evening offering an introduction to plainchant at St Bede`s, Catholic Road, Jarrow, (NE32 3LX) on May 18th 7-9pm. This is being run by our diocesan liturgist, Fr Adrian Dixon, parish priest of St Joseph`s and St Wilfrid`s, Gateshead. Fr Dixon took over in 2005 saying the weekly Sunday Mass in the extraordinary form which I had introduced, with the then required permission of bishop Ambrose Griffiths, as parish priest in that parish.

I hope there is a good turn out for this event as it`s encouraging to see such things coming from the diocesan liturgy office. Congratulations also to Fr Dixon who celebrated his silver jubilee of ordination on 20th April.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Historical Background to Anglicanorum Coetibus

During a meal at Ushaw there was a conversation about Scotland and the Reformation as we quizzed one of our Scottish brethren about how it differed from that in England. During this conversation when it came to talking about James I and VI, I mentioned the proposal when he was king of England for reunification of the Church of England with the Catholic Church. No-one had heard of this and so I said I`d provide details here.

I am grateful to Mgr Gordon Read`s article in the December 2009 issue of the Canon Law Society Newsletter which in itself drew on an article in the Catholic Herald of 6th November 2009 by Fr Michael Rear.

Mgr Read writes:

Early in his reign James I wrote to Pope Paul V offering to recognize the spiritual supremacy of the Pope and to reunite the Church of England to Rome provided the Pope would disclaim political sovereignty over kings. Paul V took a tough line and condemned the oath of loyalty proposed by James I in the wake of the Gunpowder Plot. Urban VIII took a more conciliatory line: "We know that we may declare Protestants excommunicated as Pius V declared Queen Elizabeth and before him Clement VII the King of England Henry VIII....But with what successs? The whole world can tell. We yet bewail it in terms of blood. Wisdom does not teach us to imitate Pius V or Clement VII". Archbishop Laud of Canterbury mentions in his journal that on the day of his appointment he was offered a Cardinal`s hat.

Urban VIII sent a Benedictine monk, Dom Leander, to report on the state of the English Church.[....]

Leander suggested that the following measures might serve to reconcile the moderate Anglicans:

1. Communion under both kinds

2. Marriage of the Clergy

3. Liturgy in English

4. The admittance of English Protestant clergy to benefices (coming to agree in points of faith) either by conditional re-ordination or by way of `commenda`.

5. Permitting Roman Catholics to take the Oath of Allegiance to the monarch.

Later in the 1630`s Gregorio Panzini was sent to England as the Pope`s agent and negotiated for two years with King Charles I and various other parties.

The Jesuits were among those opposed to the plans! The Civil War put an end to negotiations. Charles II tried to establish religious tolerance and again there was a plan for reunification in 1663 which came to nothing. It would have allowed the king to nominate bishops, and for the Mass to be in Latin with English hymns.

I found all this very interesting in terms of how flexible the Holy See was willing to be to achieve reunification. Let`s hope Anglicanorum Coetibus is more successful than these previous attempts to accommodate an Anglican identity within the Catholic Church.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday night and Friday morning at Ushaw

Slowly recovering after a week of thinking most of the time about rubrics at Ushaw.
Here is a picture from the conference dinner last night when Fr Elkin told us about life at Ushaw in the 1950`s. He received prolonged applause for his continued support for the Extraordinary Form.

This mornong we were addressed by Leo Darroch, the president of Una Voce International, who gave us the history of the organisation, and then by Joseph Shaw the chairman of the Latin Mass Society who had arrived the previous night. He spoke about some future projects of the LMS. After this Paul Waddington who had overseen the organisation of the whole event asked the participants for their opinions about what the conference and what could be done in the future.

After this came the final Mass of the conference, a votive Mass of St Cuthbert, celebrated by Fr de Malleray FSSP, with Antiphon singing the Palestrina Mass Aeterna Christi Munera which strangely was the same Mass setting we had for the recent Mass celebrated at Stella for the feast of St Cuthbert.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday at Ushaw

Requiem today. Yes I know the albs have lace and there are no unbleached candles on the altar. The Rudgate Singers sang the Victoria Requiem.

Wednesday at Ushaw continued

When I feel less exhausted I may write something about this week. In the meantime here are some more pictures. More can be found on the Middlesbrough LMS blog here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday at Ushaw

All still going well. A few pictures from today. It`s been quite an exhausting day as there is a full timeatble. There was a free couple of hours this afternoon but I used it to go back to the parish to pick up a few things we needed and to call in at the North East Catholic History Society talk.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday at Ushaw

Just a few more pictures from today. Fr Elkin of Let the Welkin Ring was the celebrant of today`s Missa Cantata. Father is writing about the conference on his blog.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday At Ushaw

The first day of the LMS training conference has gone well. It`s good to see familiar faces from last year and new ones too. I had a bit of a rush to get here in time this morning and then go straight into High Mass. Here are some pictures that may be of interest.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

And so to Ushaw

Tomorrow I will go to Ushaw for the annual LMS training course for priests. I am looking forward to it immensely. Last year it was wonderful: even the weather was fabulous. The weather is looking good again and although things are never as good the second time it is hard to imagine how it would not be a great event. I am to be deacon at the High Mass tomorrow and celebrant of the Missa Cantata on Wednesday.

I would strongly urge priests and people who are not attending but may be interested to turn up for the daily public Masses. I thought I had posted the details but the Mass is either at 11 or 11.15 each day. Ushaw is a bit off the beaten track but it will be worth making the effort to be there.

I would also ask anyone who can to say a prayer for the success of this conference.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Tablet

This morning I heard the editor of the Tablet, Catherine Pepinster, being interviewed again on the Today Programme about the latest accusation against the Pope which the Vatican has defended itself. I didn`t listen too closely to what was being said as it sounded like many of the interviews I`d heard before.

However I was pleased to read an article in the Tablet yesterday by Fr Timothy Radcliffe with the title, `Should I stay or should I go` which I thought made many useful points, explaining why the present situation is not a reason for leaving the Catholic Church. Copyright prevents me giving the whole article but it is available on the Tablet site here.

However a couple of quotes will be useful:

...the statistics for the US, from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2004, suggest that Catholic clergy do not offend more than the married clergy of other Churches.

Some surveys even give a lower level of offence for Catholic priests. They are less likely to offend than lay school teachers, and perhaps half as likely as the general population. Celibacy does not push people to abuse children. It is simply untrue to imagine that leaving the Church for another denomination would make one’s children safer. We must face the terrible fact that the abuse of children is widespread in every part of society. To make the Church the scapegoat would be a cover-up.


From the beginning and throughout history, Peter has often been a wobbly rock, a source of scandal, corrupt, and yet this is the one – and his successors – whose task is to hold us together so that we may witness to Christ’s defeat on Easter Day of sin’s power to divide. And so the Church is stuck with me whatever happens. We may be embarrassed to admit that we are Catholics, but Jesus kept shameful company from the beginning

I would like to hear Fr Radcliffe being interviewed on the Today Programme or Newsnight.

The Priest

I was delighted to receive in the post yesterday a complimentary copy of `The Priest` the journal of the Australian Conference of Catholic Clergy. This issue is dedicated to the conference in Rome I attended back in January and gives the texts of all the talks. I was so glad to have this as I didn`t take notes at the time and there were some things I wished I could remember from it. I see that past issues are available on-line and so this one should be too in time.

I`ve not looked at the ACCC site recently but I see they have a good selection of photos of the liturgies which are well worth a look.

All in all the ACCC is an impressive organisation ( as I`m sure their American counterpart the CCC is too). Wouldn`t it be great if we had a similar organisation in the UK?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

ACN Pilgrimage to Walsingham

I`ve been sent these details about the forthcoming ACN pilgrimage to Walsingham which I`m happy to pass on.

Aid to the Church in Need UK – Annual Walsingham Pilgrimage of Grace – Saturday, 22nd May 2010, Feast of Saint Rita of Cascia

Please join us as Aid to the Church in Need remembers suffering Christians around the world with our 2010 Pilgrimage to the Roman Catholic National Shrine in Walsingham.

ACN is organising coaches from London Victoria. Should parishioners wish to join us at Walsingham, travelling independently or, perhaps, organising coaches from their locality they are very welcome to do so.

For those who would like to join us on this Pilgrimage and would like more information a booking form is downloadable from the ACN website at the following link. You could also contact us on 020 8642 8668.

Sunday, April 04, 2010


While I`m waiting for the lunch to cook I thought I`d take the time to wish everyone a Happy Easter. I`m feeling rather exhausted just now and fell asleep last night watching an interesting programme on the Shroud of Turin. I`m sorry to have missed the ending and hope I can find it on one of those playback sites.

Maundy Thursday had a reasonable turnout of parishioners. I`m alway impressed by Catholics who come for this Mass as it is the least high profile of the Triduum ceremonies and people who come just want to enter into Holy Week as fully as they can. I failed to remember to buy a football rattle for the clapper used in place of bells at the consecration but I did have a plastic baby`s clapper thing which makes a suitable noise and I`m glad to say it was used to good effect.

Good Friday saw a large number of people at the Stations of the Cross at 10pm. I quite like to use the version by bishop Konstant on Good Froday but couldn`t find the book so we had the ones by Fr Cormac Rigby which I also like. Just before anyone is worried we did have the St Alphonsus Stations on two of the Sundays of Lent.

At 3pm we had the Solemn Commemoration of the Lord`s Passion and I was glad to see we had four altar servers turn up to help with the ceremonies. The church was full and all went well. At 5pm we had the same liturgy in the Extraordinary Form. This was thanks to the Jarrow men who offered to sing and who were helped by 1569 Rising and the former director of the now defunct Schola Gregoriana of Northumbria, Ian Graham. While I was worried about whether we would have enough servers, in the event we had four which was just about enough. The 3pm liturgy finshed just after 4 and we began rehearsing for the 5pm at 4.15. So I was delighthed that we had the resources to celebrate the Extraordinary Form and many thanks to all who helped. However it was rather sad that so few of the faithful availed themselves of this opportunity. From even among the avowed adherents of the Extraordinary Form in this diocese few came. Some preferred to attend the OF as they said the time of 5pm was inconvenient and others just didn`t seem interested.

The Easter vigil started at 8pm and despite a day of heavy showers the weather held to enable us to have the Easter fire outside. I hadn`t said anything to encourage people to make this their Easter Mass. It was a pity that not more came to this, the central liturgy of the Church`s year. Our music group had worked hard and did very well. I would say about 60-80 people attended and then we had refreshments in the hall with a simnel cake made by a parishioner and wine.

This morning although the promised sunshine didn`t happen, the church looked its best and was absolutely packed. I had said the 9.15 at Longbenton first where all went well. Then it was the 10.30 at St Mary`s. A rousing rendition of Thine Be the Glory concluded the Mass.