Sunday, December 30, 2007

Good News about Catholic Education

Moving out of the sanctuary for a while, I was very pleased to see this on the Independent Catholic News site. Congratulations to bishop O`Donoghue and to his chairman of his education committee, the dynamic Fr Luiz Ruscillo. The document can be found here. I sincerely hope it will become a model for the rest of the country.

LANCASTER - 30 December 2007 -

Vatican welcomes Bishop O'Donoghue's Fit For Mission schools document

Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue of Lancaster Diocese(UK) has received the endorsement of the Congregation for Clergy, Rome, for his recent teaching document, 'Fit for Mission? Schools'. The Congregation further express the hope that it will become 'an example for other Dioceses in the country in their implementation of the General Directory for Catechesis and the Catechism of the Catholic Church in their individual ecclesiastical jurisdiction'.

Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, Secretary for the Congregation for Clergy, has sent the Congregation,s congratulations to Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue for his 'courageous examination of the state of evangelisation and catechesis in the diocese of Lancaster's schools and colleges' - among other things, and for developing a positive programme for action in harmony with the General Directory for Catechesis and the other operative Magisterial documents.

Furthermore, Archbishop Mauro Piacenza wrote in his letter of 15 December, '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'.

The Dicastery wished the Bishop well in the implementation of the Fit for Mission? Schools programme, which will be developed throughout the diocese during 2008. In the New Year, the diocese,s Education Centre will facilitate and co-ordinate further consultation and implementation of the action plan among primary and secondary schools, and colleges. This will culminate in a diocesan conference in November 2008 to discuss the progress of Fit for Mission? Schools over the year.

Bishop Patrick is most encouraged to receive the support the Congregation for Clergy for Fit for Mission? Schools. He said: "To be honest, I have been overwhelmed by the positive response! Before Christmas, my office was inundated with congratulations, enquiries, and requests for copies of Fit for Mission? Schools from within the diocese, from around the country and internationally".

The Bishop's Office in Lancaster has received requests from the United States, Canada, Australia, France, and Malta.
Source: Lancaster Diocese

Friday, December 28, 2007

New emphasis on exorcism? Vatican denies report

Today the Daily Mail picked up a story from the Petrus website about Benedict XVI asking for special exorism squads. Apparently this became known through an interview with Fr Gabriel Amorth, the official exorcist of the diocese of Rome. It was also on Petrus that an interview appeared with Leo Darroch, the new head of Una Voce, which attributed to him all kinds of things he never said. Seems as if Petrus is not that reliable as a source of news. Catholic World News has the announcement about the Vatican rejection of the story.

New Ecclesia Dei document

Today the Catholic News Service gives a summary of Pope Benedict`s plans for 2008. Among them are the new document from the Ecclesia Dei comission which will clarify questions that have arisen over Summorum Pontificum. When a document comes out from a Vatican congregation sometimes hair-splitters who don`t like what the document says will say that it is a document of low authority because it is not the work of the Pope but a Vatican department and so it effectively gets ignored. A document from a congregation can acquire greater authority if it is signed by the Pope himself in forma specifica. The good news from the Catholic News Service is that this appears to be what is going to happen. Here is the relevant paragraph.

Sometime early in the year, the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" plans to issue a document clarifying questions that have arisen regarding the pope's 2007 document relaxing restrictions on use of the Tridentine Mass. Sources said the pope personally is interested in removing ambiguities, and will sign off on the new document.

I have great hopes for this document as there appear to be cases where the Motu Proprio is being ignored or misinterpreted to prevent a more ready access to the 1962 missal for those who request it and various specious excuses are put forward to block access. Sometimes it is said that a Mass can only happen if the people requesting it are from that particular parish but then on the other hand when people from a parish have made a request they have been told that they can`t have it because there is already provision about twenty miles away in another parish. Let`s hope this new document will clear up some of the recent obstacles.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The exotic liturgical life of Bensham

On the fourth Sunday of Advent the Society of St Pius X, who have celebrated the traditional Mass on a Sunday in the Station Hotel in Newcastle for the last 34 years (with a short inter-regnum when they had an independent, ex-SSPX priest, Fr Glover), moved into their new home the former Anglican church of Christ Church in Bensham, in Gateshead. I include a picture here of this fine church and a link to more. I went to this church in 2005 for a Christian Unity service for Gateshead led by the bishop of Durham, Tom Wright who spoke a lot of sense about ecumenism on that occasion. I was invited back for a sneak preview of the church a couple of weeks ago. The Society had originally planned to take over another ex-Anglican church in the Bensham area of Gateshead, the lovely church of St Cuthbert on Bensham Bank, but found the costs prohibitive. That church has now been acquired by an Orthodox group so Bensham will be able to provide quite a wide variety of liturgical experience!

The new SSPX church has had it`s name changed to the church of the Holy Name. When I was parish priest of St Wilfrid`s and St Joseph`s in Gateshead ( with a weekly Sunday indult Mass) I heard that the SSPX were planning to move into the town. They often complain that bishops set up officially sanctioned celebrations of the Tridentine Mass only where their own churches exist. Having a Tridentine Mass with an attendance of 80 or so I felt that they were setting up near to me. However there is no sign of the SSPX opening up in Forest Hall as yet! Meanwhile the Sunday 12 noon EF Mass continues at the nearby St Joseph`s, Gateshead.

There is talk of the excommunications of the SSPX bishops being lifted soon. If this happens then we will have another church on Tyneside where Catholics may freely worship according to the EF. A field trip to St Cuthbert`s to study the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom should also be a possibility it seems!
I should also mention that Bensham is the home to a large Orthodox Jewish community with one of the most important yeshivas (Talmudic school) in Europe and that the SSPX is right in the centre of it.

More encouraging news from the Vatican

This story appears today on Catholic News Service regarding the recent changes in the papal liturgies. It`s interesting to hear what the new papal MC has to say about these changes. Let`s hope this outbreak of sanity continues and that maybe something will hapen to the papal chasubles too. So far the Pope has turned out in some good copes but the chasubles appear to be the same cut as those of John Paul II although without the `fly-away` orpheries. I hope 2008 brings a papal celebration of the EF. It would help those of us in the trenches who are trying to promote Summorum Pontificum in the face of indifference and hostility.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas 2007

A very happy Christmas to all who read this page. We had an absoutely packed church for the Christmas vigil Mass at 6pm. A good crowd of about 60 for the sung midnight Mass in the extraordinary form and no trouble despite the recent non-story about priests moving midnight mass to earlier in the evening to avoid drunks etc (as if this was news). Christmas Day Mass was quite low key but again a good crowd. No trouble with Come Home for Christmas then! Maybe more useful would be come home for Epiphany or something like that since there is no problem filling the church on for Christmas.

In the octave of Christmas, as well as the daily 10am Mass there will be an EF Mass at 11 each day (apart from Saturday ( EF at 10), Sunday and Monday) with a Missa Cantata on New Year`s Day to include the Veni Creator to gain the plenary indulgence. On the Epiphany we will have the 6pm EF form Mass at SS Peter and Paul`s Longbenton with a social afterwards to celebrate twelfth night.

Fantastic to see things slowly improving at the papal liturgy last night too with the restoration of the seventh candle for a Pontifical Mass. God bless Pope Benedict! H/T to NLM

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Blair Conversion

This is the bit that intrigues me ( from today`s Times):

Vittorio Messori, a Catholic writer who co-authored books with John Paul II and Benedict XVI, said: “Friends in the English church have told me that it all started with Cherie’s faith. Gently, gently, she convinced him to go to mass with her so as not to separate the family on Sundays. He was struck above all by the liturgy. I found out about this 10 years ago.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

More like it

H/T to Rorate Caeli for this letter of the bishop of San Marino-Montefeltro in Italy to the Pope regarding Summorum Pontificum. I didn`t know telegrams still existed! However I thought this was a touching letter. I wonder if there have been any like it from this country? All we seem to have had, apart from silence, are a couple of extremely restrictive interpretations.

Motu proprioSummorum Pontificum
Telegram sent by our Bishop Luigi to the Holy Father Benedict XVI

Most Blessed Father,The Diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro, together with its Pastor, has received with gratitude and responsibility the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum", recognizing in the directives proposed by Your Holiness a wider possibility for the education of the Christian people towards a faith which becomes truly a part of the person and a living presence in the entire society.

Our Diocese has not been able but to feel sorry for the persistent silence of many in the Catholic world which seems to reveal at least discomfort, if not distance, from Your directives, and cannot refrain from indicating as a source of concern the taking of public positions which have sounded problematic in comparison with the Magisterium of Your Holiness.Your Holiness, our Diocese is small but has always been unconditionally faithful to the person and to the Magisterium of the Successor of Peter.

We trust therefore that this our faithfulness, which we have willed to express with this gesture, may comfort You in Your service. We only ask for us the Apostolic Blessing.

Pennabilli, 15 December 2007.

+ Mons. Luigi NegriBishop of San Marino-Montefeltro

Monday, December 17, 2007

Southwark Cathedral

I received this from the LMS today:

For Immediate Release

17 December 2007

Traditional Latin Mass Returns to St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, London

With the kind agreement of Archbishop Kevin McDonald and Canon James Cronin, the Cathedral Administrator, the Latin Mass Society organised a Solemn Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite at 11.00 am on Saturday 8 December 2007 for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Mass was followed by the singing of the Te Deum in thanksgiving for the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio, ‘Summorum Pontificum’.

The Celebrant was Fr Andrew Southwell, the Deacon was Fr Patrick Hayward and the Sub-deacon was Fr Christopher Basden. Canon Cronin sat in choir and preached the homily. The MC was Gordon Dimon of the LMS and the Mass was sung by the Gentlemen of the Cathedral Choir under the direction of Nick Gale.

As far as is known, this was the first time the Traditional Latin Rite has been celebrated in St George’s Cathedral since the post-Vatican II liturgical changes of 1969.

A very large congregation of several hundred packed the central nave and sang the people’s parts of the Mass with great gusto. The size of the congregation was impressive given the very wet and blustery weather experienced that day.

The congregation were delighted when Archbishop McDonald joined them after Mass to chat at the back of the cathedral.

Julian Chadwick, Chairman of the LMS, later said, “This Mass is an object lesson as to how cathedral authorities and the LMS can liaise fruitfully to reintroduce the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite into our cathedrals to satisfy the demand for this Rite which undoubtedly exists. The LMS is grateful to Archbishop McDonald and Canon Cronin for their help and we hope to return to St George’s Cathedral before too long.”

Note: A large selection of photographs of this Mass can be seen on the website:

. . . . ENDS . . . .

For further information, please contact John Medlin, General Manager, or Yvonne Windsor, LMS Office Administrator, on (T) 020 7404 7284; (F) 020 7831 5585;
(E mail)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

More good news about Latin

H/T to Rogueclassicism for this piece from Monday`s Guardian:

Latin, it was reported last week, is making a comeback in inner-city schools in London: 20 primaries are trying Latin lessons, under the aegis of Project Iris, run by teacher Lorna Robinson. Something similar is happening in Oxfordshire, where the language is also being introduced to selected primary schools.
Robinson has spoken of its benefits in helping children get to grips with English, but one of the refreshing things about the move to teach Latin in perfectly ordinary primaries in Hackney is that there is no nonsense here about it being the preserve of the posh.
Alas, the impression that the language is for toffs and Fotherington-Thomases has probably been reinforced by its most vocal contemporary champions: Boris Johnson may be many things, but he is not what we classicists would call one of the profanum vulgus; or to put it another way, he is not a man of the people.
In 1968, students protesting in Paris actually cared enough - bizarre as it may now seem - to rail against the compulsory study of Latin; and one of the first moves by the Bolsheviks in revolutionary Russia was to banish the language from schools. Latin has long been regarded as the preserve of the few, a position to which it gradually declined after a staggeringly successful stint as the universal language of first the Roman empire and then the church.
It had a robust development through the middle ages, a retention of power through the start of the early modern period, and then a swift downward canter, as the language ceased to be the essential carrier of European thought and became the bastion - and the mark - of the wealthy, educated classes.
Until quite recently it retained a useful side function (which it can still claim to an extent) of being a vehicle for excluding the masses from certain areas of privileged knowledge. Legal and medical terminology was obscured in Latin, as was stuff that was too sexually explicit to be revealed to morally susceptible members of the working classes and, naturally, of the weaker sex. (An unintended consequence was that Latin has been associated with titillation; in 1881 an edition of an 18th-century work of pornography called Academie des Dames was put out, in deliberately easy Latin, with a crib provided.)
The association of Latin, then, with upper-class males is a mere trick of history. Just as Project Iris is doing in Hackney, it's time to reclaim Latin for the proletariat (a good Latin word, after all). Why? Partly, as Project Iris hints, it's an excellent way of improving language and general learning skills. And partly because it is difficult - and why shouldn't children be challenged? Latin is a tricky beast, but if it's taught well children can have a lot of fun with it.
One might ask, why not learn something useful, like Spanish or Mandarin or French? Well, do that too, but your efforts will be made easier by a knowledge of Latin: because it's a "dead" language - as people are so fond of saying - learning it presents the advantage of sidestepping all that business of ordering a beer or reserving a hotel room. Instead you delve right down to the bones of the language, understanding it at a deep, structural level that is both immensely rewarding for its own sake and very useful when that understanding is applied to any other language.
Mostly, though, Latin is worthwhile because it creates the opportunity for an encounter with the intellectual world of the ancient Romans, through the fantastically rich corpus of literature that remains to us. This encounter with Rome is important because so much of what we do and think - from the way our laws are organised to the nature of our education system, to how we look at our rights and duties as citizens - has its roots in Rome. Encountering Rome through its literature is one of the most exciting journeys the life of the mind can offer. To engage with these strange creatures of 2,000 years ago - so like, so unlike us - is to embark on a relationship that is often deeply unsettling, but never anything less than enriching.

When to put up the Christmas tree?

I see that the lights on the Vatican Christmas tree are to be lit tomorrow. I sometimes wonder when is the right time to put up the tree. I once knew a family of very devout Catholics who every year would go to get a tree on Christmas Eve which they decorated while listening to the service of nine lessons and carols from King`s College Cambridge on the radio. That seemed to make sense but then it meant the tree was only enjoyed for twelve days. The advantage was that trees were sold cheaply on Christmas Eve. However the Vatican thinks tomorrow is a good day for it. On reflection today, being the feast of St Lucy, may have been appropriate. In fact I think I`ll start that as a tradition next year now I think about it. In the meantime I`d better start rummaging through the presbytery cupboards to see what bits of Christmas decoration I can find. I suppose I really ought to start writing cards too. I always imagine I`ll have done this by December 8th but never have done.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I`m sure we`ll be seeing more of this..

While the Forest is murmuring as much as ever, I`m afraid I`ve not felt inspired to drag myself to the computer recently. However this story caught my attention today. I wonder whether this happens in other parts of the country apart from Dover? Baptisms may remain popular because whereas this secular naming ceremony (and I wonder how long it will be before it becomes compulsory?) costs between £109 and £234, baptisms come with no fixed fee although most couples are happy to leave £20 or so.

From the Religious Intelligence site.

Bishop’s anger over secular naming ceremony Friday, 7th December 2007. 3:35pm

By: George Conger.

THE BISHOP of Dover has criticized Kent County Council (KCC) for privileging secular ‘baby welcoming’ ceremonies over Christian baptism for newborn infants.

“Whilst I have no objection to KCC offering a secular service for those who would like it, I do have problems with them promoting these alternatives through the registration service,” Bishop Stephen Venner told the diocesan newspaper, Outlook.
When parents register the birth of their child in Kent, the county Registrar’s Office gives them a pamphlet advertising a ‘Simply Perfect Kentish Welcoming Service.”
The KCC’s website states: “A welcoming ceremony can be a very special way of celebrating the birth of your child and welcoming the new arrival into the family and the wider community. It’s also an opportunity to declare, before family and friends, your promise to be as good a parent as you can and for adult friends or relatives to confirm their special relationship with your child.” The naming service costs from £109 to £234 and comes with a customised naming scroll.
“If people are to be made aware of services, then KCC should include the provision of the various faith communities in any glossy brochures they are handing out and on their websites,” Bishop Venner said.“The role of government is to enable all sections of the community to have the services they need, not to promote just one option,” he noted.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Extraordinary Form Confirmations in Northampton diocese

I received this press release from the LMS today together with this picture of Bishop Doyle after the Mass following confirmations in the extraordinary form.


For Immediate Release

29 November 2007

* Northampton Bishop Administers Traditional Rite Confirmations

The LMS announces that Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton administered Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Rite) to 7 candidates during a pastoral visit to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Chesham Bois, Bucks on Sunday 18 November. Bishop Doyle also celebrated Sunday Mass in the Traditional Rite.

John Medlin, General Manager of the Latin Mass Society, said, “This is a very welcome development. We hope it will not be long before bishops all over England and Wales respond to pastoral demand for Mass and the Sacraments in the Traditional Rite. The parishioners of Chesham Bois are very grateful to Bishop Doyle for agreeing to offer the Traditional Mass and Sacraments.”

In an endorsement of the recent Papal Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, Bishop Peter Doyle became the first Ordinary to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Traditional Latin Mass in his own Diocese. (Confirmations have been conferred annually in Westminster Diocese since 2004 by auxiliaries of the diocese). He topped it off by celebrating Solemn Pontifical Low Mass. In accordance with the Motu Proprio the ceremonies “followed the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated” and the earlier form of the Roman Pontifical.
In an address to the candidates, Bishop Peter noted that some of the candidates might be nervous. “I, too, am nervous”, he said, “as this is the first time that I have conferred confirmation and celebrated Mass in the older form of the liturgy.”
“Remember,” he instructed, “that it is not you or I who is in charge – it is the Holy Spirit.” The full congregation was touched by the courage and humility of Bishop Peter.

. . . . ENDS . . . .

For further information, please contact John Medlin, General Manager, or Yvonne Windsor, LMS Office Administrator, on (T) 020 7404 7284; (F) 020 7831 5585;
(E mail)

Congratulations to Sr Anna!

I was delighted to read in the Northern Cross that St Michael`s school at Esh Laude in Co. Durham has been named the best state primary school in the North East and the third best in the whole country by the Sunday Times Parent Power Guide.

The article states:

Ofsted had already identified the school as `outstanding` after its latest inspection.

St Michael`s was one of only six schools in the country in which every pupil achieved Level Four in the Key Stage Two `sats` tests.

The school originated in 1795 and under headmistress sister Anna Ryan, combines a mixture of traditional and innovative lessons.

The three Rs are given maximum emphasis but the 172 children, aged from 4-11, devise their own rules- and then abide by them.

The many extra-curricular activities at St Michael`s include playing violin and ski-ing.

What the report doesn`t mention and why I am particularly interested is that the school uses for RE the excellent CTS programme The Way, the Truth and the Life which, despite having a forward by Archbishop Vincent Nichols, has not always found favour in catechetical circles. I visited the school once and was very impressed by the depth of knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, the Catholic faith shown even by non-Catholics. Sr Anna also ensures a daily Mass is said in the school chapel by using the services of retired priests.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Solemn High Requiem at Westminster Cathedral

As I mentioned in an earlier post I went down to London for the LMS` annual requiem on November 17th. Today I received these pictures of the event together with an account of the Mass. One of the reasons I went all the way to London was to hear Victoria`s Requiem sung in a liturgical context (the press release doesn`t make clear that this was sung) .

Here is the text:


For Immediate Release

29 November 2007

Bishop John Arnold of Westminster Becomes First English and Welsh Bishop to Celebrate the Traditional Rite in Westminster Cathedral Since the Liturgical Changes of 1969

Bishop John Arnold, Auxiliary Bishop in Westminster, celebrated a Pontifical High Mass of Requiem in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 27 November. He did so at the request of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. The Mass was organised by the Latin Mass Society. Bishop Arnold’s Assistant Priest was Fr Andrew Wadsworth; the Deacon was Fr Andrew Southwell and the Sub-deacon Fr Benjamin Durham FSSP.

A large congregation of over 700 heard the men of the Cathedral Choir sing traditional plainchant. The bishop also preached. His theme was preparation for death as an access into new life in the knowledge that “Jesus died and rose from the dead in order to complete His plan of redemption for all.” At Requiem Masses Catholics have the privilege of offering prayers for the dead and the chance of imitating in this life the goodness which many of those who have gone before us embodied. Death is a sign of hope that one day we might enjoy “eternal life in the presence of a God who loves us more than we could dare to imagine.”

Before Mass, a wreath was laid by Julian Chadwick, Chairman of the LMS, and other LMS Committee members on the grave of Cardinal Heenan in the cathedral nave in thanksgiving for the Cardinal’s efforts to preserve the Extraordinary (Traditional) Form of the Roman Rite. Father Patrick Hayward was chaplain for the occasion.

John Medlin, General Manager of the LMS, said: “The LMS is grateful to Cardinal Cormac and to Bishop John for their pastoral charity towards those many Catholics attached to the Traditional Roman Rite. We are also very grateful to Mgr Mark Langham, the Cathedral Administrator, for making us welcome in the cathedral. We look forward to celebrations of the Extraordinary Form in many more of our cathedrals throughout England and Wales.”

. . . . ENDS . . . .

For further information, please contact John Medlin, General Manager, or Yvonne Windsor, LMS Office Administrator, on (T) 020 7404 7284; (F) 020 7831 5585;
(E mail)

The Extraordinary Form at Longbenton

After much consideration, I have decided that the best way to accomodate the request for a Sunday Mass in the EF is to have a Mass on Sunday evenings at SS Peter and Paul, Longbenton. Initially this will be once a month on the first Sunday of the month at 6pm. The church is better suited to the liturgy than St Mary`s and a Sunday evening mass at St Mary`s will clash with the parish youth group who meet in the church hall which was created out of the original sanctuary. When we had the High Mass on September 23rd the noise was very distracting and they were doing their best to keep quiet!

So we will have the first Mass this Sunday evening and I`m glad to say it will be a Missa Cantata. I hope this will generally be the case but it is difficult without, for the moment, singers from the parish. However the Schola Gregoriana are able to come this Sunday and we are glad they can.

Recruiting servers ought to be easier. So far I have one server from the parish but I hope others will follow with a little encouragement.

Nothing has been done with the strange statue of Christ coming off the cross as yet but I hope we will be able to address that in the New Year as the parish council at SS Peter and Paul are in favour of a change.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Fr Timothy Radcliffe on`Facing difference in the Church.`

The weekend before last, there was a conference in this diocese at which the main speaker was Sr Helen Prejean. I didn`t make any of the conference but I was given a copy of a talk given by one of the other speakers, Fr Timothy Radcliffe, the former Master-general of the Dominicans. The title of his talk was `Facing difference in the Church`.

I find it hard not to like Fr Radcliffe. I enjoyed his book `I call you friends`. In the talk of which I have a copy, he spoke about divisions in the Church and the need for `liberals` and `conservatives` to speak to each other. I think this is progress. I`m not keen on the tags `liberal` and `conservative` as they generally refer to those who are happy to follow the Magisterium and those who aren`t and they smack too much of politics.

However as regards Summorum Pontificum Fr Radcliffe had this to say in the context of dialogue between Catholics:

But what do liberal Catholics fear? I suggest that there is a deep unease that the Church is stuck or even retreating. After the Council, many people dreamed of a Church that would be radically transformed. Forty years later, this has not happened, at least not as the liberals hoped. does this mean that we may be stuck forever with a Church that is over-centralised, authoritarian, patriarchal, exclusive of women? Some people ask how they can remain if the Church does not change.

Maybe this is why the Pope`s decision about the Tridentine Mass has been the focus of such an intense anxiety for many `liberal` Catholics. You would not expect that the celebration of the Eucharist in its ancient form would be quite so threatening. Of course it matters how you celebrate the Eucharist, but this issue has become symbolic of something deeper, that the Council is being undone. I gave a retreat for a southern diocese a few weeks ago and the topic evoked profound angst. When I asked whether there had actually been any requests for more celebrations of the Tridentine rite, it seemed there had been none.

So no need to panic as there have been no requests. I suppose if your parish priest is complaining bitterly about the Motu Proprio a Catholic may think there is no point in approaching him with a request. It might only upset the poor man more. I know at the minute of a group of parishioners who are preparing to approach their parish priest with such a request and am very interested to see what happens. Catholics who would take offence at the suggestion that they are `against Vatican II` and yet desire to worship in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite, especially younger ones, including priests, who don`t see what all the fuss is about, need to be sensitive to the reaction that such requests may produce in older Catholics. Yet now the so-called Tridentine rite is part of the current form of the Roman rite and I suppose it will take a while for this to percolate through.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Archbishop Ranjith on Communion in the hand

Thanks to Fr Finigan on the Hermenutic of Continuity for pointing out this part of a recent interview with Archbishop Ranjith. Father translates as follows:

Let us distinguish carefully. The post-conciliar reform was not entirely negative; on the contrary, there are many positive aspects in what has been realised. But there are also changes introduced without authorisation which continue to be carried forward despite their harmful effects on the faith and liturgical life of the Church.

I speak for example of a change that was brought about in the reform which was not proposed either by the Council Fathers or by Sacrosanctum Concilium, that is, communion in the hand. This contributed in a way to a certain loss of faith in the real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This practice, and the abolition of the altar rails, of kneelers in churches, and the introduction of practices which obliged the faithful to remain seated or standing during the elevation of the Most Holy Sacrament reduced the genuine meaning of the Eucharist and the sense of profound adoration which the Church should direct towards the Lord, the Only-begotten Son of God.

It is indeed interesting to see a reference to communion in the hand contributing to a certain loss in faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist (ad un certo calo di fede nella Presenza reale di Cristo nell’Eucaristia).

It`s getting hard to keep up with the good archbishop but at a quick glance at the rest of this interview I see the practice of standing or sitting throughout the consecration is condemned, the using of churches for secular meetings, the hiding away of the tabernacle in churches, the confusion of the roles of the clergy and laity on the sanctuary which renders it a `place of disturbance and of too much movement and not certainly `the place` where the Christian is able to grasp the sense of amazement and splendour before the presence and saving action of the Lord.` Also the use of dancing and musical instruments not suited to the liturgy as well as homilies of a political character.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The fruits of liturgical abuse

It seems it is thanks to the efforts of the liturgical abusers that we have been gifted with Summorum Pontificum. So maybe all those Masses with liturgical dancers and coffee table Masses were worth it in the long run.

From yesterday`s CWN

Vatican official: Abuse of norms contributed to Tridentine decision
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A lack of respect for the norms for celebrating the Mass after the Second Vatican Council contributed to Pope Benedict XVI's decision to grant wider permission for the celebration of the Tridentine Mass, a Vatican official said.

"There is a certain tendency to interpret the post-conciliar liturgical reform using 'creativity' as the rule," said Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

An interview with the archbishop was published in the Nov. 19-20 edition of L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, after he had given a speech and an interview in which he criticized bishops and priests who were putting restrictions on celebrations of the Tridentine Mass even after Pope Benedict authorized wider use of the rite in July.

In his decree, the pope said the Tridentine Mass celebrated according to the 1962 Roman Missal should be made available in every parish where groups of the faithful desire it.

He also said the Mass from the Roman Missal in use since 1970 remains the ordinary form of the Mass, while celebration of the Tridentine Mass is the extraordinary form.

L'Osservatore introduced the interview by saying, "The debate over liturgy is as open and lively as ever."

The paper asked Archbishop Ranjith if he thought it made sense that the pope's July document on the Tridentine Mass "reignited the confrontation between the so-called traditionalists and so-called innovators."

"Absolutely not," the archbishop replied, because the two rites for the Mass both belong to the church and are a sign of continuity."

Regarding the Tridentine Mass, over the years there was a growing request, which little by little became more organized," he said.

"On the other side, fidelity to the norms for the celebration of the sacraments continued to fall," he said.

"The more this fidelity (and) a sense of the beauty and awe in the liturgy diminished, the more requests for the Tridentine Mass increased."

"So, in fact, who really requested the Tridentine Mass? It was not just these groups, but also those who had little respect for the norms of a worthy celebration according to the 'Novus Ordo,'" or new order, he said, referring to the post-Vatican II liturgy.

"For years the liturgy suffered too many abuses and many bishops ignored them" despite the efforts of Pope John Paul II, Archbishop Ranjith said.

"So the problem was not requests for the Tridentine Mass as much as an unlimited abuse of the nobility and dignity of the eucharistic celebration," he said.

Archbishop Ranjith said that although the church's liturgy has developed and changed over the centuries "we must recognize that the liturgy has a particular 'conservative' characteristic" because it is a part of the church's heritage that must be preserved.

"This is a central aspect: We are called to be faithful to something that does not belong to us, but is given to us," he said.

L'Osservatore also asked Archbishop Ranjith about liturgical music and art, saying they were other aspects in "the debate about the liturgy.

"Gregorian chant has a special place in the liturgy, he said, and it should be used "to give praise to the Lord.

"Other forms of music also are appropriate, he said, if one is sure that "they are edifying for the faith, that they spiritually nourish those who participate in the liturgy and truly dispose the hearts of the faithful to listen to God's voice."

As for the visual arts, Archbishop Ranjith said the church must find ways to enter into a deeper dialogue with artists to encourage religious art, but also to ensure that pieces of art in places of worship help people pray.

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, he said, has scheduled a Dec. 1 study day to discuss ways to promote religious art for liturgy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Leading the Way

The Dutch were always considered the most `progressive` of Catholics in the years after Vatican II. Now it seems they are at the forefront of the New Liturgical Movement. A while ago news came out of the Dutch bishops had published an edition of the Ordinary of the Extraordinary (!) form. A couple of days ago the story came out that the Dutch bishops are to ensure that seminarians learn the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite. (Cf. Rorate Caeli) Good to see that it seems Rome will ask for this in the expected document from Ecclesia Dei. It is the logical consequence of the Motu Proprio, as I have mentioned before. I look forward to seeing what happens at our local seminary at Ushaw which is now awaiting a new rector.

On a technical note, the report about the recent training day for foreign priests at Ushaw said it `outside Durham in Northumberland` ! Ushaw is not in Northumberland but in Co. Durham.

Pope Benedict overhauls music at the Vatican

It would be encouraging to see a musician of international renown given charge of papal musical affairs.
From today`s Irish Independent:

Benedict to change his tune in music overhaul
By Malcolm Moore in Rome Tuesday November 20 2007

POPE Benedict is considering a dramatic overhaul of the Vatican in order to force a return to traditional sacred music.

After reintroducing the Latin Tridentine Mass, the Pope wants to widen the use of Gregorian chant and baroque sacred music.

In an address to the bishops and priests of St Peter's Basilica he said that there needed to be "continuity with tradition" in their prayers and music.

He referred pointedly to "the time of St Gregory the Great", the pope who gave his name to Gregorian chant.

Gregorian chant has been reinstituted as the primary form of singing by the new choir director of St Peter's, Father Pierre Paul.

He has also broken with the tradition set up by John Paul II of having a rotating choir, drawn from churches all over the world, to sing Mass in St Peter's.

The Pope has replaced the director of pontifical liturgical celebrations, Archbishop Piero Marini, with a man closer to his heart, Monsignor Guido Marini. It is thought he may replace the head of the Sistine Chapel choir, Giuseppe Liberto.

The International Church Music Review recently criticised the choir, saying: ``The singers wanted to overshout each other, they were frequently out of tune, the sound uneven, the conducting without any artistic power, the organ and organ-playing like in a second-rank country parish church.''

Mgr Valentin Miserachs Grau, the director of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, which trains church musicians, said that there had been serious "deviations" in the performance of sacred music.

"How far we are from the true spirit of sacred music. How can we stand it that such a wave of inconsistent, arrogant and ridiculous profanities have so easily gained a stamp of approval in our celebrations?" he said.

Damian Thompson has another version of this story in today`s Telegraph.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Come Home for Christmas

On December 9th the new initiative of the bishops of England and Wales to draw lapsed Catholics back to the practice of their faith will be launched in all our parishes. The accompanying leaflet interested me. It lists some of the reasons why Catholics may have lapsed. It reads:

People drift away from the practice of their faith and
perhaps attend Church infrequently, for all kinds of reasons.

Some never really started, because they were
baptised or made their first Holy Communion and
then no one in their family went at other times.

For others, teenage years may have marked a turning
point because the Mass seemed boring and irrelevant.

Sadly, others may have been hurt by something
said or done by someone at Church. You may
still feel very angry about this.

Maybe some failure or experience in life made
you feel unworthy or ashamed. It may have been
that deep down you felt that you were doing
wrong or that the Church disapproved.

Many suffer the trauma of a marriage breakdown. They
may have married again or are in a new relationship.

Some disagree with the Church's teaching,
on contraception, sex outside marriage,
homosexuality and married / women priests.

Perhaps you just gradually stopped coming
for no particular reason and that’s that.

Whatever your reasons or situation, we
would like to invite you to take a fresh
look and give it another go. You are a
vital part of God’s family and would be
made very welcome.

I`m sure all these are important reasons why people stop practising their faith. I also suppose it is asking too much for experiences of awful liturgy to be added to the list of why people stop going to church. It could come under being `hurt by something said or done by someone at church`. It certainly drives me to distraction at times. At least it seems the liturgy is a priority for Pope Benedict. The post from Irish Independent is more evidence of this.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Leo Darroch replies

I`ve been off-line for a couple of days and have been down in London today for the Solemn High Requiem Mass at Westminster Cathedral but I found that Mr Leo Darroch had sent me this rebuttal of his interview which appeared on the Petrus site. Readers may have already seen it on Angelqueen.

Reply to article by Bruno Volpe in Petrus.

An interview appeared on the Petrus website on Monday 12th November that claimed to reflect my views on a number of issues. I have no hesitation in saying that this interview is a complete misrepresentation of what I said to the Italian journalist. The interview was conducted in English and I was concerned from his comments during our discussion that he had not understood the points I was making, so on three or four occasions I asked him whether he had understood.

The headline states that I am the “world-wide president of the traditionalists.” This is a journalistic introduction by the magazine staff for a good headline. No president of the Una Voce Federation would ever claim such a thing; our authority is limited within our international Federation. The magazine also states that I have presented exclusive to Petrus my “programme of government which reserves not a few surprises.” The subsequent article indeed had some surprises, all of them unpleasant, and all of them completely unrelated to anything I said to Mr. Volpe.

In the first paragraph the journalist asks if I am satisfied with the election and then goes into detail about my farewell to my predecessor. This paragraph is an invention. I was having lunch with friends on Saturday 10th November when approached by Mr Volpe who wanted to ask me just two questions. The brief interview actually took place before our General Assembly had started. Mr Volpe interviewed both Mr. Oostveen and myself in advance of the session later that day that would include the election of a new president. The subject of a tribute to an outgoing president was never discussed because no one knew who it would be. It would also have been very presumptuous as it could have been any one of ten members of the Council.

The second paragraph is entitled ‘What is the first item on your agenda? This question was never asked. Mr Volpe began the interview by asking if the Una Voce members were faithful and obedient to Rome? I replied that we had been faithful to Rome since we were founded 40 years ago in 1967 but this is not mentioned. We then had a discussion on matters of tradition and I said that in the past our bishops had controlled the Catholic media, especially the newspapers sold in parishes, so that they could control the minds of the faithful. With the advent of the internet this control of the bishops has been broken. Young people, and especially younger priests, who are familiar with using the internet, are finding out about the traditions of the Church and are angry with their bishops for denying them their heritage in liturgy and music and history.

We then move on to “traditionalists and ecumenism.” Mr Volpe claims I said, “Look, we are not Lefebvrians and I want to underline the fact.” This is another invention. Firstly, it is not my place to make public comments on the Society of St. Pius X. Secondly, I have never used the words ‘Lefebvrians’ or ‘Lefebvrist’ as I consider them deeply offensive to the memory of Archbishop Lefebvre whom I admired for his great lifetime work for the Church, and to those many fine priests and honest faithful among whom I have many friends. Some years ago I had a letter published in a national ‘Catholic’ newspaper in which I criticised its use of this very word. It has been used by many bishops over the years as a pejorative term to marginalize and isolate anyone who expressed a desire for the traditional liturgy. Mr Volpe then claims [we are] not at all opposed to the Second Vatican Council whose documents [we] respect, and that Ecumenism is a fundamental step to be implemented. How he arrived at this conclusion I do not know, but all I need to say is that a very orthodox prelate friend told me over the phone that although he saw my name in the article, on reading it he wondered to whom exactly the journalist had been speaking.

We then move on to “the Missal of the Novus Ordo”. Mr Volpe writes that I think the Missal of Paul VI is a “good missal” and that “it would be absurd to criticise it a priori.” I said no such thing. When asked my opinion I said that any Mass celebrated strictly according to the rubrics of the Missal of 1969/70 and with the correct intention is a valid Mass but it is still a pale imitation of the Missal of 1962, and there have been so many abuses incorporated over the years that many Masses nowadays are obviously invalid. Even Rome acknowledges this point.

Finally Mr Volpe states that “(I) am renowned for expressing many doubts about Communion in the hand.” I do not have any doubts whatsoever about this – I have always said that I believe the practice is not Catholic and should be stopped as soon as possible. I did not realise that I was “renowned” for expressing this opinion but it is surprising what one reads about oneself in newspapers. Actually, what Mr Volpe has stated in this paragraph is, in fact, my opinion but I never said it to him in such terms. One thing I did say was that Mother Teresa once declared that the biggest problem in the Church today is Communion in the hand.

My only concern is that this article may be seen by those who do not know me as a reflection of my views. Those who have known me for years know that it is so far removed from my opinions that it is laughable. Also, if anyone thought about this seriously they would appreciate that anyone holding the views expressed in this article would never be elected to any position, never mind the presidency, in an international federation intent on preserving and fostering the centuries-old traditions of the Church.

Leo Darroch, President – International Federation Una Voce.
15th November 2007.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Another first for Hexham and Newcastle

I was delighted to hear that Leo Darroch, a member of this diocese and seen here greeting the Holy Father earlier this year, has become President of Una Voce International at their recent meeting in Rome. Leo has been secretary of the International Federation for a while now. A man more dedicated to the traditional Mass (aka the Extraordinary form of the Roman rite) one could not hope to find.

Unfortunately, an interview with Leo has appeared on the Petrus site. I was somewhat taken aback when I read it, even with my declining knowledge of Italian. This did not sound like the Leo I have known for about 20 years. Having spoken to him today I am glad to say that he has been seriously misrepresented and is preparing a rebuttal. The interview was conducted in English and on three or four occasions he asked whether the Italian journalist understood the points he was making. He was assured that everything was understood but this is clearly not so.

And a few more

More pictures from the High Mass on September 23rd

Local Donkey Trouble

Listeners to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 may have heard this morning the story of the 13th century law which is holding back the opening of a market. It is also reported on the BBC website today.
South Shields was granted permission by royal charter of King John to have a market and for there to be no rival market within the distance of a day`s donkey ride. The town of North Shields on the opposite bank of the Tyne is thus prohibited from having a market but now it seems they want one but can`t get around the 13th century law which South Shields has threatened to invoke through the South Tyneside Council if they try.
Apparently it`s all very serious.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saving St Walburge`s

Let`s pray that things go smoothly on Monday. It was a great pity that the Institute of Christ the King failed to get Everingham in the Middlesborough diocese a couple of years back. This would be a tremendous breakthrough if it comes off. From the Lancashire Evening Post.

Italian bid to save city church
A religious group and a mystery benefactor are bidding to save Preston's St Walburge's Church

By Jenny Simpson and James Reader
An iconic Preston church could be saved by a mystery donor and an Italian religious group.

The Institute of Christ the King wants to take over the running and restoration of St Walburge's which has been earmarked for closure under reform plans by the cash-strapped Diocese of Lancaster.

Fr William Hudson, the Florence-based order's UK representative, will meet Bishop of Lancaster Patrick O'Donoghue on Monday to discuss the proposals.

A private donor has offered to give £100,000 to St Walburge's if the Institute of Christ the King gets the go-ahead from the bishop.Fr Hudson said he had been impressed by the levels of support for keeping the Pedder Street church open when he gave Latin masses there last month.

He said it had been estimated £2.5m would be needed in the longer term to run the Roman Catholic church, a large proportion of which could be obtained from public bodies like English Heritage and other trusts set up for the purpose of keeping historic churches open.

Fr Hudson, the head of Brussels International Catholic School in Belgium, declined to give details on the donor but said parishioners would be consulted on the ideas.

Parishioner Jim Aherne said: "St Walburge's is part of the city's history and we must preserve it for future generations."

Preston Council is backing the fight to keep St Walburge's open after it passed a motion calling on the Diocese to retain it as a place of worship for "the foreseeable future".

Coun Bill Shannon said: "The Diocese must move heaven and Earth. We cannot do much about heaven, but we can do plenty about Earth."Council chief executive Jim Carr will now write to Bishop O'Donoghue calling on him to keep the church open.

But the Bishop said talk of transferring ownership of the church was premature.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

From the American Spectator

A interesting article I thought. H/T to Rogueclassicism

Latin Lovers in America
By Harry Mount
Published 11/6/2007 12:08:02 AM ( i.e. 6th November 2007 )

And is it true? Are the long-held dreams of a thousand bachelor teachers, their shoulders sprinkled with dandruff and chalk-dust, coming to life? Is the great Latin revival happening? After half a century of decline, when the teaching of Latin retreated to a few small brave frontier outposts -- American prep schools, British public schools and the Vatican -- is it back?

The answer is -- yes...a bit. The dead language is showing some small signs of recovery; mere glimmers, perhaps, but significant all the same. Chief of the Latin Revival Club is Pope Benedict XVI, who on September 14 made it easier for Catholics to attend the Tridentine Mass, celebrated almost entirely in Latin, and set out by Pope Pius V in 1570. With this masterstroke, the Pope has single-handedly ended a battle fought by modernists for 40 years to end the Latin Mass.

The old Latin rite is a splendid sight -- the priest celebrates High Mass with his back to the congregation, intoning the Latin liturgy amid puffs of incense, throwing in gobbets of Greek and Hebrew too. Prayers are said at the foot of the altar, matched to a complicated series of genuflections, bows and crossings of the chest.

Although Pope Benedict has quite rightly been celebrated as the driving force behind the Latin revival, his predecessor did his bit, too. Pope John Paul II was the first to remove major restrictions on the Latin Mass in the early 1980s. In 2001, he hurried the Vatican's return to Latin when he signed off the directive, Liturgiam Authenticam, demanding translations of the liturgy that are closer to Latin.

The Old Testament may have been written in Hebrew, the New in Greek, but it was in Latin that the medieval priest principally read and in Latin that he spoke in church.

It is in the translation from the Latin, too, that worshippers were used to hearing the liturgy. Confusingly, the Latin Church used a Greek liturgy for several hundred years before adopting Latin, but it was the Latin version that stuck until Vatican II.

In America, Australia, Scotland, England and Wales, bishops have now voted to accept these new Vatican-backed translations closer to the original Latin.

So, in America for example, the prayer before communion, which had gone "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you," now goes "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof." That's much closer to the original -- "Domine, non sum dignus, ut intres sub tectum meum."

Likewise, in the Nicene Creed, "born of the Virgin Mary" will revert to "incarnate of the Virgin Mary" ("incarnatus...ex Maria Virgine"). And, in the exchange between priest and congregation: Priest: "The Lord be with you." Congregation: "And also with you." will become: Priest: "The Lord be with you." Congregation: "And with your spirit."

Again, this is much closer to the original Latin: Priest: "Dominus Vobiscum." Congregation: "Et cum spiritu tuo."

Still, under Pope John Paul II, it was up to individual bishops whether they allowed the Latin Mass in their diocese. Pope Benedict XVI has removed that prerogative from the bishops. As a result of his apostolic letter in July, called Summorum Pontificum ("Of the Leading Popes"), issued Motu Proprio ("by his own motion"), individual priests can themselves choose to say the Latin Mass. And, what's more, individual congregations can demand that their priest says the Mass.

Hundreds of American churches are expected to demand the Latin Mass. Even before Pope Benedict XVI announced his plans to ease the restrictions, you could find five churches in New York alone that celebrate the Tridentine Mass.

ALL GOOD NEWS, THEN, for Latin fans. But even before this wonderful news, Latin was already on the up in America. The country suffered a great classics slump in the late 20th century; now the subject's booming again.

In 1905, 56 percent of American high school students studied Latin. By 1977, a mere 6,000 pupils took the National Latin Exam. That went up to 134,873 last year.

Still, let's hope that the Latin revival won't just be confined to classrooms and chancels, that the language will be used for pleasure, as well as for instruction and ritual.

Of course this new generation of Latin students will know their English grammar better by learning their actives from their passives. And priests and congregations who understand the Tridentine Mass will tend to have better written English than those without Latin.

But let's hope those students, those priests, and their congregations will enjoy some Latin literature as well as Latin grammar and Latin masses. The real point of Latin and Latin teachers is not their gift for improving your English but for improving your Latin; and so allowing you to appreciate some of the finest prose and poetry ever written.

To say you need to understand Latin to understand English, as some people do say, is as crazy as suggesting that you need to understand Anglo-Saxon, German, and Norman French to understand English. All these languages went into the pot to form English but no one suggests learning them to improve your grammar.

English is not nearly as close a relative of Latin as, say, French, and even French is a descendant through many generations. Once the Romans left Britain to the Angles and the Saxons, our native language went through several incarnations.

The language the Angles and Saxons brought with them -- Anglo-Saxon -- imported large chunks of non-Latinate words, as well as some pretty garbled bits of Latin, often borrowed via French.

And then, when the Normans came, their new brand of French imported even more Latinate words. But it was much-mutilated and diluted Latin that poured into the mix that became modern English.

THE IDEA THAT THE PURE strain of original, ancient Latin, as spoken in the Tridentine Mass and taught to increasing numbers in American schools, forms the spine of modern English is ludicrous.

In fact, the main reason you will know English better as a result of reading Latin is that it is so different from Latin, not because of any similarities. It is in computing the changes from one language to another that you are forced to think about the structure of each of them. Latin is particularly useful for this computing exercise, thanks to the very quality that it is usually attacked for -- its deadness.

Because living languages are in a constant state of flux, there's a great deal of wriggle room when translating from one to another. Precisely because Latin is dead, there's none of that flexibility. You are much more likely to be definitely wrong in a translation from Latin to English than from, say, French to English, if you haven't understood exactly what a particular word means or how a grammatical rule works.

Still, it's pretty grim to think of Latin like this, as a sort of mental gymnastics, a grim, utilitarian exercise for strengthening the mind. Yes, if the new Latin students, and the priests and congregations celebrating the Tridentine Mass, really get to know their Latin, they'll incidentally improve their English.

But -- much more wonderful than that -- they will then know world literature from the third century BC, when writers got going in Rome, through to the Golden Age of Latin -- Lucretius, Catullus, Sallust, Cicero and Caesar. They will know the Augustan Age -- Ovid, Horace, Virgil and Livy -- down to the end of the Silver Age in 120 AD: Martial, Juvenal, Lucan, Seneca, Pliny and Tacitus.

It's a pretty inspiring reading list. If they happen to pick up some grammar along the way, well, all the better, but I hope they don't forget to look out of the window and take in the beauty spots too.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


On a normal day I get about 80-100 visits to this blog. Yesterday, when I`d published nothing all day I got 180 which was the highest since the publication of Summorum Pontificum on July 7th. Have I been mentioned somewhere?

Cluster Talk

On Tuesday 13th November, Mr Terry Middleton will give the next talk in the series we are holding for the cluster of parishes of which I am moderator. His topic will be the Northern Rising of 1569. The venue as usual is St Aidan`s parish hall, Coach Lane, Newcastle and the talk starts at 7pm. All welcome.

Una Voce in Rome

Rorate Caeli has an item today from an interview with the new President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, and of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology, Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi.

It reads:

Rome will welcome in the end of this week the international congress of Traditionalist faithful . What is your opinion, as "Culture Minister" of the Vatican, on the Tridentine Mass?
"Extremely favorable. It represents a monument in the history of the Church and of Civilization. How would it be ever possible to disown tradition? It is enough consider, for instance, the nobility of Gregorian Chant and of Latin. It [the Mass] is a gem to be defended and valued. Obviously, the defense of the Tridentine Rite does not entail the exclusion of the 'Novus Ordo' and of a Mass celebrated in the local language. I will say that there are different approaches, but both important.
Visitors to Rome in the next few days may be interested to know about some of the Masses that will be taking place during the Una Voce General Assembly. I have this information:
On Saturday 10th November at 10.00 a.m. Fr Joseph Kramer, FSSP superior in Rome, will celebrate Mass for the delegates at the FSSP church of San Gregorio del Muratori. Full details of this church and its location can be found on the website

On Sunday 11th November, His Excellency Archbishop Luigi De Magistris will celebrate Mass at 9.30 a.m. at the Church of Gesu e Maria, Via del Corso, 45, Rome, Italy.

Bishops at large

Last week here at Forest Hall bishop Dunn came to confirm fifteen of our young people. I was particularly glad that bishop Dunn sat to administer confirmation while the confirmandi knelt before him and that he gave each of them the traditional tap on the cheek which we had spoken about in the preparation classes but had said it probably wouldn`t happen this time as the last time I had had confirmations in my previous parish (not celebrated by the bishop) the candidates had stood in a line in front of the altar which I thought was less impressive.

I was delighted to see this news from the Latin Mass Society today. There are a few pictures too of the confirmations at Spanish Place.

* Westminster bishop confers Traditional Rite confirmations
* Northampton bishop also to administer confirmations

Bishop John Arnold, auxiliary bishop in Westminster, administered Confirmation in the Traditional Rite at St James’s Church, Spanish Place, London on Saturday, 3 November at the request of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. A record 54 candidates received the sacrament – 50 children and 4 adults.

In a new development, the LMS also announced that Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton will administer Confirmation in the Traditional Rite to 7 candidates during a pastoral visit to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Chesham Bois, Bucks on Sunday 18 November at 10.30 am. Bishop Doyle will also celebrate Sunday Mass in the Traditional Rite.

John Medlin, General Manager of the Latin Mass Society, said, “This is a very welcome development. We hope it will not be long before bishops all over England and Wales respond to pastoral demand for Mass and the Sacraments in the Traditional Rite. The parishioners of Chesham Bois are very grateful to Bishop Doyle for agreeing to offer the Traditional Mass and Sacraments.”

At St James’s, Spanish Place, a packed congregation of 600 family and friends were led by the St James’s choir in singing the Veni Creator Spiritus and other traditional hymns. During the anointing, the choir sang polyphony and plain chant. After the anointing, Bishop Arnold led the congregation in the Divine Praises and then conferred Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

After the Confirmations, at a reception, Julian Chadwick, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society, thanked Bishop Arnold for his pastoral concern and led the assembly in a traditional roof-raising round of applause. Bishop Arnold then spoke informally and cut the special Confirmation cake with many parents taking photographs. Later, the bishop mixed with the parents and children whilst everyone enjoyed the refreshments provided by the LMS.

John Medlin of the Latin Mass Society said, “This is the fifth consecutive year that Confirmations in the Traditional Rite have been arranged by the Latin Mass Society with the permission of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. Our numbers are increasing every year and I expect this trend to continue after Pope Benedict’s recent Motu Proprio.”

Monday, November 05, 2007

Interview with Cardinal Ricard

I was interested to see this interview on Catholic World news today. In the course of it we find:

Touching on another issue that roused considerable controversy within the French hierarchy during the past year, the cardinal said that the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum had "caused more anxiety before its appearance than after." He claimed that the French bishops have heard few requests for the use of the old Latin liturgy, but when such requests do come, the French bishops will respond properly. "All the dioceses of France welcomed this motu proprio," he reported, and are prepared to accommodate the traditional Latin Mass.

Why should the bishops of France have had any requests for the old Latin liturgy? The decision to celebrate the EF now lies in the hands of parish priests. There is no need to ask the permission of the bishop. When will the penny drop?

Episcopal Rebellion

At least it has been noticed. Archbishop Ranjith again! H/T to Rorate Caeli.

Cathedral Masses

There have been a number of Masses in the Extraordinary Form in cathedrals around the world. In fact some of them happened even before the Motu Proprio came into effect such as the Mass such as the Mass celebrated in his cathedral by bishop Salvatore Matano of Burlington, U.S.A on August 15th. On Saturday Cardinal Pell celebrated the EF in his cathedral. It is rumoured that the Pope may celebrate the EF at the beginning of December, possibly at St Paul`s outside the Walls. Can we assume that these Masses were or will be celebrated only because a `recognisable group` ( in the words of the Northern Cross) made a request for it? Does a bishop not have the freedom to decide that a cathedral Mass will take place unless such a group has made a request? I mention this only because I have heard this put forward as a theory. I`m going to the LMS Solemn Requiem at Westminster cathedral on November 17th to be celebrated by auxiliary bishop John Arnold. Is this Mass taking place at the request of a group of parishioners at the cathedral? I imagine not. But what better way for a bishop to show that he really means it when he says that he accepts with obedience the Motu Proprio than to arrange a celebration of the EF in his cathedral even if he can`t celebrate it himself? Maybe the new instruction from Ecclesia Dei will help clarify all this.
UPDATE. I forgot to do my daily check of the Holy Smoke blog and I see, by coincidence, there is a new item there about the refusal by bishop Kieran Conry allow such a thing. Oh well. There are lots of interesting comments on this one. I suppose it was bishop Conry who had said, back in July, that he thought a liberalisation of the EF would be `divisive`. I suppose he was never going to be that positive about it.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Things you don`t expect to see: No. 1

Here is a priest who has featured a number of times on the most eminent of British priestly blogs. This was taken some distance away from the Chislehurst Golf Club.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Back again

I returned home today after a week away. One of the first things I did was to grab the Catholic Herald to see what had been happening over the last week. I was somewhat surprised to read of the recent statement by bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds regarding the implementation of Summorum Pontificum. As we have been informed there will very soon be a document from the Ecclesia Dei commission answering points that have been raised about the correct understanding of the Motu Proprio. Thus it seems rather rash for bishop Arthur to issue now his restrictive understanding of the text. This is the more disappointing given that in recent years the diocese had arranged for younger priests to be trained to celebrate the 1962 missal. It could just be that he would like any priests who are interested to have such formation which would be fine so long as no-one is denied the freedom to enjoy such training.
A couple of things still bother me about some interpretations of the MP. One is that those who would wish to restrict access to the Extraordinary Form insist that the people attending/requesting the Mass should belong to that parish. I know many parishes which would not survive if it were not for the presence of people who live outside the parish boundaries. In my last parish of St Wilfrid in Gateshead some of the most dedicated parishioners did not live within the parish boundaries but felt a loyalty to the place and worked hard to keep it going. Also we see in this diocese a monthly Sunday African Mass at my other former parish of St Joseph`s in Gateshead. It doesn`t appear to be required that people attending or asking for that Mass live within the parish boundaries. Masses for other language groups are around too so what is wrong with a Latin Mass operating in the same way?
Another irritant is the question of bination. Canon Law (Cn 905) says that a priest may celebrate Mass only once a day but can do so twice if allowed to do so for a good reason by the bishop because of a scarcity of priests. This can be three times on a Sunday. When I have had to celebrate two Masses on a weekday it has never occurred to me to ask the bishop for permission. The second Mass has often been a school Mass or a funeral. These appear to be good reasons to celebrate twice. So too is the spiritual good of the priest who has a deep longing to celebrate the Extraordinary Form and the spiritual good of the people who also adhere to this Form. In this diocese ( as I suspect in many others) we already have a general permission for priests to binate if `pastoral need requires it` so I don`t see a problem. I can hardly see a decree coming out saying bination is ok so long as the second Mass is not in the EF. To bring this up sounds like a desperate move.
As for the suggestion that at this time there are no identifiable groups in a diocese who adhere to the EF that doesn`t mean to say there never will be and the MP is clear as to how these will arise. It starts with a priest saying a private Mass who allows interested faithful to attend. In time they will become a recognisable group and so off we go. I can understand bishops worrying that this will make moving priests more difficult if such groups need to be taken into account but there is always the option in the MP to establish parishes primarily for the EF. Also the dynamic of the MP is such that it will mean that the EF will have to be part of the formation of priests in the seminary if they re to be said to be `utilis` (useful) as the ordination rite requests.
Finally a part of bishop Arthur`s instruction that grates is that this whole business of the EF is seen as an exercise in winning over Catholics who follow the Society of St Pius X or others who are in an irregular standing with the Church. I don`t think this is the Pope`s sole intention. Reading his books on the liturgy shows that he regards the freedom for the EF as a matter of justice and a sign of a community at peace with itself. The new papal MC, Mgr Marini, has said as much.
However I am excited by what I have seen of the new ICEL translation of the missal of Paul VI and look forward to being able to make use of the labours of the ICEL committee over which bishop Arthur presides.
UPDATE. Catching up on blogs I see many comments about this. Fr John Boyle`s comments I particularly enjoyed

Friday, October 19, 2007

New Cardinals

Among the new cardinals announced this week, I was delighted to see the name of Fr Urbano Navarette. I wasn`t sure if he was still alive but at the age of 87 he has been awarded a red hat. Fr Navarette taught canon law at the Greg in Rome when I was there. I had my oral exam in my finals with him. He taught the course on marriage. He always came across as a man of great integrity and with a deep love for the Church. In my time at seminary I had often been somewhat guarded in my response to a number of our teachers but in the Greg canon law aula I found, for the most part that, I had great respect for them and especially for Fr Navarette. Ad multos annos!

Stem Cell Talk

On Tuesday of this week I was delighted to introduce Dr Nico Forraz as he gave the first of the talks for our cluster of parishes, on his cutting edge work at the Newcastle Centre for Life with non-embryonic stem cells. A bigger audience than I had feared turned up to listen and engage in a question and answer session which also involved Professor Colin McGuckin who works with Nico.

We learnt that non-embryonic stem cells are collected from blood the umbilical cord at the birth of a child. As such, unlike embryonic stem cells, they are readily available and have none of the ethical drawbacks. However the government has decided to finance research with embryonic stem cells so that 95% of funding for research in the UK is for that kind of work while research with cord blood stem cells only attracts 5% of available funding. Apparently there was a similar situation in South Korea until recently and now that the advantages of cord blood stem cells are better known, funding there is equal for both kinds of research.

Nico spoke of how the work he does is directed towards three areas that of the liver, the brain and blood. Professor McGuckin spoke of his meetings with Pope Benedict and how the Holy Father had given them great encouragement to make progress in their research. Often the Church is presented as having a negative attitude to the modern world so it is good to be able to show that this is not always the case where things can be done according to sound ethical principles.

It was a great opportunity to be able to hear firsthand about this ground-breaking work. We were very grateful for Nico and Colin giving up their time to talk to us (and for bringing six bottles of wine for everyone to share!)