Monday, March 31, 2008

Fr Francis James Arcadius Kuyte (1853-1935)

Since I became involved recently with the North East Catholic History Society I have been dipping into past issues of the Society magazine. This morning at breakfast I was reading the 1993 issue and came upon an article, by Aidan Harrison, about the above priest which I thought you might enjoy.

 Fr Kuyte was born in Oss in Holland but came to England and at the age of sixteen began studies at Ushaw. He served as parish priest of St Agnes` Crawcrook from 1912 until his death. His predecessor had suffered from chronic laryngitis which prevented him from preaching. The parishioners felt deprived and sent a delegation to the bishop to ask for a preacher. Bishop Collin`s reply was " You want a preacher? I`ll send you a preacher!" Harrison continues: Fr Kuyte was a renowned preacher-for length as much as content- and soon the parishioners of Crawcrook were making up for lost time with hour-long sermons at the Sunday Masses and Evening Devotions. The congregation of the 8.30 am Sunday Mass were leaving just as those for the 11.00am were arriving. These in turn, would be fortunate to be leaving by one o`clock in the afternoon. 

 Not everyone was happy about this but Fr Kuyte was undeterred. One Sunday three men decided enough was enough and left the church during the sermon. Fr Kuyte noticed them leaving and called out to them forbidding them to leave. As they ignored him he left the pulpit and pursued them across the main street and persuaded them to return. The next week he denounced them by name for leaving early. 

Harrison does say that Fr Kuyte was very well read on secular as well as religious subjects and had interesting opinions. He denounced the Allies after the first World War for imposing too harsh terms on Germany saying this would rebound on them later: something he did not live to see. he was also an expert on ornithology and particularly a world authority on the nightingale which he introduced to Crawcrook

 However there are more stories. He remarked that his parishioners were the slowest he had known to respond to the parish notices. One week parishioners were surprised to find a washing line had been set up from one side of the church to the other and displayed on it were a selection of worn-out and irreparable vestments for which he had been asking for funds to replace. The funds were raised in two weeks.

 Another time the parish found themselves showered with halfpennies from the pulpit from the previous week`s collection. Fr Kuyte`s point was that if that was all they could afford to put on the collection plate then their need was clearly greater than his and they could have their money back.

Fr Kuyte had fallings out with the bishop and diocesan authorities. When parish priest at Bell`s Close in Newcastle in the early 1900`s alterations and extensions were made to the church and presbytery but Fr Kuyte did not approve of the diocesan plans and altered them. The bishop was not pleased and insisted that Fr Kuyte pay the extra cost of his own alterations from his own pocket: a sum of £400, reckoned to be the equivalent of £80,000 in 1993. He was from a wealthy background. 

In Crawcrook he argued against the diocesan plans for the construction of a new school as being not a good deal financially and twenty years later his successor discovered that Fr Kuyte had been correct in his advice as a further site was needed for a new church which would not have been necessary if Fr Kuyte had been listened to. He both amused and frustrated his parishioners. He had preached against the dangers of dancing (much as the Cure D`Ars had too). When some parishioners later asked if they could have a parish dance he surprised them by saying they could have two. He went on: `You can have one, one week for the men, and another, the next week, for the women!` 

When a lapsed Catholic was delivering coals to the presbytery and said `These`ll burn well, Father,` the quick reply was `So will you, Paddy, so will you.` There was a massive turn-out for his funeral in 1935, the road to the cemetery being lined by non-Catholics as well as Catholics. He had become a well-known character in Crawcrook with his top-hat, three-quarter length coat and silver-topped cane. Harrison says: Fr Kuyte was a `character` who would alternately frustrate, madden or delight, but he was a man of deep understanding and learning who attempted to impart knowledge to his people through his, albeit, lengthy sermons.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Holy Week

I`m just beginning to recover from the exertions of Holy Week and a bad cold. I was very pleased with the turn out for the Maundy Thursday Mass here at St Mary`s considering it can be the least well attended of the three days. On Good Friday the church was not full I`m sorry to say. The Easter vigil attracted a slightly smaller congregation than a normal vigil Mass but on Easter Sunday morning the church was packed to standing room only with some people taking themselves upstairs to sit in the choir loft.

A highlight this year was having a full team of servers for all the Triduum who go from strength to strength. The serving team was really organised by Fr Mark Withoos who introduced me to the idea of a servers` evening which involved an hour`s practice including rigorous instruction in how to genuflect properly, to hold the hands joined and how to approach the altar, followed by pizzas and entertainment. After Fr Mark got things started we now carry on without him as he is no longer in the area. I am greatly helped by two of the mothers of the servers, Ann and Alison, who come to the training evenings and are in the sacristy on a Sunday morning to ensure everyone knows what they are doing. Although the sanctuary at St Mary`s is now very small and not really suited to having servers (there is no room for them to sit on the sanctuary so they have to sit in the front row of the church) their knowledge of what to do has grown and the latest thing we introduced was having torchbearers for the Eucharistic prayer which now happens every Sunday. I know they should not leave until after Communion but if they continued to kneel before the altar during Communion there would be no room so they go back to sacristy at the Our Father. This also has the benefit that the thurible stays there after this point as a number of parishioners appear to have problem with incense.

So Holy Week went very smoothly. I was also the celebrant at a 1962 Good Friday service at 5pm. Unfortunately while I had allocated half an hour for a rehearsal I found I had forgotten the ombrellino and part of the photocopied service sheet and so had to come back here to get it which meant there was almost no time for a rehearsal and the ceremonies were somewhat confused. However the large schola sang very well and I was very pleased to be able to hear the Reproaches and a shortened version of the Pange lingua. I was keen to use the new Good Friday prayer for the Jews as it showed the Pope taking an active interest in the 1962 missal and showing it is part of the mainstream liturgy of the Church. However parts of the 1962 liturgy are irritating: the said Our Father is very strange. Also the use of the black cope for the Solemn Prayers seems rather odd. However as I couldn`t see any other celebration of the 1962 Good Friday happening in this diocese or a neighbouring diocese I though it was important to offer it for those who asked.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tenebrae at Longbenton

Holy Week started this morning at 10 with Tenebrae at SS Peter and Paul`s Longbenton. This was according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (1962). Three of the schola were present and were augmented by Alan from Glasgow, another disciple of Mary Berry. Many thanks to Ian, Dorothy and Sheila. I wasn`t expecting a large congregation but a few souls turned up to give it a try. Ian said he had not sung Tenebrae since the days of the famous `Glover Holy Week` on Palace Green in Durham, twenty years ago when the whole office of the triduum was sung in its pre-reformed form (!) and attracted people from all over the country. It is a wonderful service to be part of although it does require stamina. Much as I love the settings of the Lamentations by Couperin or Charpentier or the Victoria responsories I can imagine that if these were introduced the whole office would take at least three hours! This morning it lasted two and a half hours.
Here is a picture taken on my phone showing the hearse and altar candles. Sorry we didn`t have unbleached candles for the altar but I was glad we had them for the hearse.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

St Patrick`s Night (?)

Yesterday I was mostly dancing with Zulus. Part of a parish priest`s everyday duties: the Lions of Zululand came to do a dance display for our primary school and at the end they dragged members of the audience up to dance with them: the headteacher was first and I, an obvious target, was next.

Tonight we had a St Patrick`s Day celebration in the parish hall. This was to raise money for young people trying to get the funds together to go to World Youth Day with the Pope in Australia later this year.

However this year with an early Easter St Patrick doesn`t crop up on the English liturgical calendar. When I was trying to get help for our penance service on Monday night at the deanery meeting one of our Irish priests said " You know what night that is" and I replied that it was normally St Patrick`s night but not this year. I believe that the annual St Patrick`s Mass at St Michael`s Newcastle was held this morning. (Not sure what happened to St Joseph there.)

Problems started this morning at the weekly EF Mass in the parish. I got to the altar , put the chalice down and looked at the missal when I realised I was in purple vestments and today was (I think: at least according to the diocesan ordo: the LMS ordo said not) St Joseph`s day. So off we went back to the sacristy to change vestments.

Then I got an email asking what has happened to St Cuthbert`s day this year? Normally this is on March 20th but that is Maundy Thursday this year. The diocesan ordo has transferred the Annunciation to March 31st but no mention of St Cuthbert. The rest of the country now has St Cuthbert on September 4th to give them a chance to celebrate him as he is not a solemnity in elsewhere but we have kept March 20th (and also have September 4th for the feast of his translation). As there is no mention of the feast in the ordo I`ll have a Mass of St Cuthbert on the earliest possible date which is April 1st.

In the meantime here is a picture of the band for tonight`s St Patrick`s night do.

When will it start at Ushaw?

In an interview with Zenit, Cardinal Rigali, the archbishop of Philidelphia talks about providing training for the Extraordinary Form in his seminary. This is the logical conclusion of Summorum Pontificum. If the Roman Rite has two forms it is remiss of seminary authorities to train a man for six years only to have him unable to celebrate all forms of the Roman Rite. Of course this will also mean that the much ignored canon about seminarians being given a training in the Latin language will need to be observed too. Recenly I spoke to a member of staff at a seminary who laughed at the idea of training in the EF saying that he had told students that if they had enough Latin (and he mentioned that he himself had an `A level`) then they could apply. This is the kind of sneering attitude which causes problems. Clearly this training cannot be only an option for seminarians as then students who opted for it may be regarded with suspicion. No doubt the much awaited instruction from the Ecclesia Dei commission will deal with this point. In the meantime here is the main part of the Zenit interview:

"Summorum Pontificum" in the Seminary

Cardinal Rigali on Introducing Seminarians to the 1962 Missal

By Annamarie Adkins

PHILADELPHIA, MARCH 14, 2008 ( Since Benedict XVI has said that the Mass celebrated according to the 1962 Roman Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII should be available to those who prefer it, seminarians should be taught to say it, says Cardinal Justin Rigali.

The Pope clarified in his apostolic letter "Summorum Pontificum" that there are two forms of the liturgy in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church: ordinary and extraordinary.
To learn what some bishops are doing to implement the document in seminaries, ZENIT spoke with Cardinal Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, about his plans to introduce seminarians at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary to the extraordinary form of the Mass.
Cardinal Rigali also suggested why priests already in active ministry should become familiar with the Missal of 1962.

Q: What practical steps are being taken to incorporate "Summorum Pontificum" into the life and curriculum of the seminary?

Cardinal Rigali: First there will be a lecture offered on the "motu proprio" that elucidates the theology underlying the 1962 missal so that the seminarians are afforded a clear understanding of the "motu proprio" and the Holy Father's pastoral concern for the faithful who have a deep love for the Tridentine liturgy.

Since nearly all of the seminarians at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary have grown up attending Mass according to the "Novus Ordo" -- Missal of Paul VI -- it is important to offer an exposition of the Mass according to the 1962 missal -- Missal of Blessed John XXIII.

Further, seminary course work in theology, liturgy and Church history will cover and expound upon the Holy Father's initiative. It will be helpful for them to see the continuity between the two expressions, but will also afford the opportunity to address the changes that took place in the liturgy following the Second Vatican Council.

Sometime in the spring semester, after the lecture, Holy Mass according to the extraordinary form will be celebrated once for the entire St. Charles Borromeo Seminary community. This will demonstrate to the seminarians the liturgically correct manner in which the extraordinary form of the Mass is to be celebrated.

Q: What about "Summorum Pontificum" has led you to support the incorporation of that document into the life of St. Charles Borromeo seminary? Are you foreseeing a greater demand for the traditional form of the Mass in the future?

Cardinal Rigali: The Holy Father has indicated that the Mass according to the extraordinary form as well as celebration of the sacraments should be available to the faithful when there is a genuine pastoral need.

Many of our clergy have never celebrated Mass or administered the sacraments according to the 1962 missal and the other liturgical texts. In order to provide for the pastoral needs, should they arise, the current seminarians should have the opportunity to be properly educated as to the rituals involved and the theology that underlies these forms.

Q: Some analysts of "Summorum Pontificum" have said that it is primarily directed at priests, and is a gift to them. What is your view?

Cardinal Rigali: The "motu proprio" is issued by the Holy Father for all Catholics.
With regard to priests, any statement from the Holy Father on the liturgy or any change in the liturgical forms or formula afford the priests an opportunity for thought and reflection on the mysteries they celebrate in the liturgy.

Many priests find in these opportunities a renewed sense of awe and appreciation for the liturgy and an opportunity for recommitment to celebrate these liturgies in a more reflective, reverent and respectful manner.

In this sense, "Summorum Pontificum" is a gift to all priests, because it encourages them, through the sacred liturgy, to draw all people into a deeper communion of holiness with the Lord.
Q: Seminaries are in the business of formation, particularly liturgical formation. What formative effect do you believe learning and celebrating the extraordinary form of the Mass will have upon seminarians?

Cardinal Rigali: Studying about and learning the Mass according to the 1962 Missal will afford the seminarians an opportunity to experience the continuity between the older and newer forms.

So much of our faith is based on continuity and tradition, handing on of the faith from one generation to the next. Sometimes the rituals change and develop but at the core they remain the same.

Prior to engaging a "practicum" experience, the theology behind the liturgy and the "motu proprio" will be studied. I have encouraged any priest who may wish to learn to celebrate this liturgy to seek such educational opportunities so that the liturgy may be celebrated in a prayerful and reverent manner.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Who will be the new bishop of Hexham and Newcastle?

Yesterday I was at a clergy lunch. As might be expected the conversation was dominated by recent events. Conversation soon turned to trying to guess who our new bishop might be. Naturally names of priests of the diocese were put forward as we imagined them as bishop until we remembered that it appears to be very rare these days for a priest of a diocese to become bishop of his own diocese. So it may well be another episcopal vicar or auxilary bishop from an archdiocese. However I`m holding out for bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan who made a name for himself at the Synod on the Eucharist speaking about a preference for receiving holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue. He is an auxilary bishop and so is free. He also speaks English and is 46 years old. I`m not really expecting a transfer from Kazakhstan to Newcastle but I must try and get a copy of his book on the Eucharist. Here is an article about him from the Catholic News Agency of America: it all makes sense to me.

Bishop calls receiving Communion on the tongue more reverent

“It is not a question of ritualism, but a question of faith and love for Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider

CNA STAFF, Mar 5, 2008 / 06:21 am (CNA).- Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Kazakhstan, in a new interview has expanded his advocacy of reverence at Mass and receiving Holy Communion on the tongue.

The Vatican Editing House recently released Bishop Schneider’s book "Dominus Est: Meditations of a Bishop from Central Asia on the Sacred Eucharist." The book contains a foreword by Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith, the Vatican’s Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments.

In a video interview conducted by, Bishop Schneider said that his book aims to "strengthen the consciousness" of the holiness of Mass among the clergy and laity.
The archbishop said that contemporary celebrations of Mass were "so superficial," lacking "due concentration" and "visible, external signs of reverence."

"We are composed of body and soul," Bishop Schneider said. "We have to worship and to adore Christ in this moment also with our body. There is a mutual influence between the exterior sign and the interior disposition.

“Therefore, here is not a question of some 'right,' but here is a question of-- we are dealing with the Lord Himself, and therefore we cannot be silent, especially I as bishop, and say 'OK, it's all OK.' It's not all OK. When we love our Lord, we have to strengthen this moment in order that it become more sacred in order to educate the exterior sign of adoration, which is also an education of faith."

He referred to the common formal gestures used to greet a president, a king, or a queen, saying comparable respect for the King of Kings was necessary.

"It is not a question of ritualism,” he said, “but a question of faith and love for Our Lord, Jesus Christ."

The archbishop responded to one objection to receiving Holy Communion in the hand, which claims that because one sins more with the tongue than with the hand, the hand is more fitting to receive the Sacrament. He dismissed the argument, by saying that, "In any case, Holy Communion comes on the tongue."

In the interview, Bishop Schneider also addressed the history of the reception of Holy Communion and the question of whether contemporary abuses, such as receiving Holy Communion while chewing gum, can be corrected.

You can watch the interview here:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos to Celebrate Pontifical High Mass in the Traditional Latin Rite in Westminster Cathedral, Saturday 14 June 2008

I received this very good news today from the LMS. What a marvellous event this will be and a clear signal that the Extraordinary Form is here to stay.

The Latin Mass Society is proud to announce that Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, President of the Ecclesia Dei Commission in Rome and Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy, has accepted its invitation to celebrate a Pontifical High Mass in the Traditional Latin Rite (the Extraordinary Form) in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 14 June at 2.00 pm.

Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos is one of Pope Benedict XVI’s closest collaborators and is charged with oversight of the Vatican’s relations with the religious communities and laity committed to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos will arrive in London on Friday 13 June in time to attend a private dinner given in his honour by Mr Julian Chadwick, Chairman of the LMS.

The LMS hopes to arrange for Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos to call on Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, at Archbishop’s House close to the Cathedral on Saturday morning. Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos will then deliver an address at the LMS’s AGM in Westminster Cathedral Hall later in the morning. He will then take lunch with the LMS’s Committee members before celebrating Mass in the Cathedral at 2.00 pm.

As befits a Prince of the Church, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos will be welcomed at the Cathedral west door in full cappa magna before processing to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel to pray; he will then vest in the sanctuary whilst the Cathedral choir sings. Pontifical High Mass will then be celebrated at the High Altar with all the breathtaking ceremony and music integral to the Traditional Rite. Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos will also preach.

Julian Chadwick, Chairman of the LMS, said, “This is the highlight of the LMS’s 43 years of struggle on behalf of the Traditional Latin Rite. It will be the first time since the liturgical changes of 1969 that a Cardinal will have celebrated the Extraordinary Form in Westminster Cathedral [Note: Cardinal Alfons Stickler, Vatican Librarian Emeritus who died in December last year, presided at a High Mass in the Cathedral organised by the LMS in 1992 but did not celebrate]. Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos has been unstinting in his work on behalf of the Extraordinary Form and this Mass is a clear signal from Rome that it wants the Traditional Rite reinserted into the heart of the Church’s liturgical activity. We are extremely grateful to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor for readily agreeing to this Mass and to Mgr Mark Langham, the Cathedral Administrator, and all his staff for their help with all the arrangements. This Mass literally represents the prayers of many thousands of LMS members and supporters offered up through the years and now come true.”

. . . . ENDS . . . .

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

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sarum Talk

Thanks to those who have written to ask how my talk on `The Sarum Use and the Recusants` went last week at the North East Catholic History Society. It seemed to go down well enough and I have been asked to write it up for the Society magazine which I will do soon before I forget it all. My greatest fear, apart from not having enough material, was that my technology would let me down and I wouldn`t be able to show the YouTube extracts from Fr Sean Finnegan`s Merton College Mass. It was a close run thing but finally I managed to get both the laptop and digital projector to do as I wanted and the clip was shown.

Fra Matthew Festing

I was delighted to read yesterday on Holy Smoke that Fra Matthew Festing has been elected as the new Grand Master of the knights of Malta. Fra Matthew lives in Northumberland and so not only succeeds the previous Grand Master Fra Andrew Bertie as only the second Englishman to be appointed to this position but he is also the second person from this diocese to hold it as Andrew Bertie was from Hexham. Fra Matthew is well known in this diocese through his work for Sotheby`s.

What with Leo Darroch as head of International Federation Una Voce and now Fra Matthew as head of the Knights of Malta, Hexham and Newcastle is doing well in high places in the universal Church!
Here is the news as announced on the Knights` website. For background on who the Knights of Malta are click here.
Frà Matthew Festing Elected Grand Master
Rome, 11 March 2008
Frà Matthew Festing, 58, an Englishman, becomes the 79th Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, elected this morning by the Council Complete of State (the Order's electoral body). In accepting the role, the new Grand Master swore his Oath before the Cardinal Patronus of the Order, Cardinal Pio Laghi, and the electoral body. He succeeds Frà Andrew Bertie, 78th Grand Master (1988-2008), who died on 7 February.

The new Grand Master affirms his resolve to continue the great work carried out by his predecessor. Fra' Matthew comes with a wide range of experience in Order affairs. He has been the Grand Prior of England since the Priory's re-establishment in 1993, restored after an abeyance of 450 years. In this capacity, he has led missions of humanitarian aid to Kosovo, Serbia and Croatia after the recent disturbances in those countries, and with a large delegation from Britain he attends the Order's annual pilgrimage to Lourdes with handicapped pilgrims.

Educated at Ampleforth and St. John's College Cambridge, where he read history, Frà Matthew, an art expert, has for most of his professional life worked at an international art auction house. As a child he lived in Egypt and Singapore, where his father, Field Marshal Sir Francis Festing, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, had earlier postings. His mother was a member of the recusant Riddells of Swinburne Castle who suffered for their faith in penal times. He is also descended from Sir Adrian Fortescue, a knight of Malta, who was martyred in 1539.

Frà Matthew served in the Grenadier Guards and holds the rank of colonel in the Territorial Army. He was appointed OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by the Queen and has served as her Deputy Lieutenant in the county of Northumberland for a number of years.
In 1977 Frà Matthew became a member of the Order of Malta, taking solemn religious vows in 1991.

As well as his passion for the decorative arts and for history, for which his encyclopaedic knowledge of the history of the Order is legendary, as is his very British sense of humour, Frà Matthew spends any free time possible in his beloved Northumberland countryside.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bishop Kevin Dunn is laid to rest

Last night I went to the cathedral for the reception of the body of Bishop Kevin Dunn. I couldn`t make it to the funeral Mass today as we were interviewing for a new headteacher at our primary school. I must say that last night was the cathedral at its best. I was pleased to see unbleached candles used for the `big six` and for the candles round the coffin. The music was not of the type that has diminished my enthusiasm for attending cathedral Masses of late. (I went once to the chrism Mass in the 1990`s but found the music so inappropriate that I didn`t go again to the chrism Mass until bishop Kevin came. At least the improvising trombone was no longer in evidence as it was in the 90`s but the music was still largely of the `folk` variety. For an account of last year`s Mass click here.) It was a shame the statues were not covered for passiontide. We had the chant Introit for the Requiem Mass to start with, the Libera me from Faure`s Requiem at the offertory and the Agnus Dei from Mozart`s Coronation Mass. What with bits of Latin chant, incense and torchbearers for the eucharistic prayer it reminded me of St Mary`s Forest Hall on a Sunday morning!

I have been amazed by the whole thing. I was firstly amazed when I heard that Kevin Dunn was going to be our new bishop as I had known him during my two years at the English College in Rome when he was doing his doctorate in canon law and I was there for the licence. Having known him in that time I never felt constrained in talking to him and felt I could say what I felt in what has been a turbulent couple of years. I am also amazed that he is no longer with us. The last thing I expected was that he might die after only three and a half years as bishop. He always looked so well and full of life. He also packed quite a lot into his time here. I was very glad that he saw upgrading the very inadequate Catholic church on Holy Island to make it a place worthy of its heritage as one of his first priorities. The makeover is a vast improvement. Maybe one day we`ll get Duncan Stroik over to build a basilica but in the meantime things have improved. I don`t think Bishop Kevin was that keen on the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite but he didn`t try to cancel any of the current Masses we have.

One of the good things about bishop Kevin was that he had worked as a parish priest. This is a rarer quality than might be expected among a number of people who are in charge of forming secular priests and leading them.

Extracts from last night`s Mass can be heard on the diocesan website.

May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

H & N`s own Fr Z

Naturally our diocesan website is primarily concerned with the death of our bishop but under the other news section this week`s podcast is by our own Fr Z (and that`s pronounced `Zed` : rhymes with Ted), Fr Zielinski, the judicial vicar and my boss at the tribunal (there are only the two of us and our secretary). I know he has worked hard at producing this so it would be a shame for it to go unnoticed: he offers reflections on the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
Sorry this podcast seems to have gone now as it is updated each week.

More on the diocesan adminstrator

I`ve been asked recently to provide some more information on the role of the diocesan administrator. So here goes

Canon 427 says that the DA is bound by the obligations and enjoys the power of a diocesan bishop, excluding those matters which are excepted by the nature of things or by the law itself.

Thus the DA, if he is not a bishop, cannot carry out pontifical ceremonies, he cannot grant incardination or excardination, unless the see has been vacant for a year and he has the consent of the college of consultors (c. 272) Likewise he cannot appoint pastors until the see has been vacant for a year (c. 525.2). (So no clergy moves for a year.)

Other things a DA cannot do are:
- to approve diocesan associations of the faithful (c. 321.1.3)
- to entrust a parish to a clerical religious insitiute or clerical society of apostolic life (c. 520.1)
- remove the judical vicar and adjutant judicial vicar (c.1420.5)
- confer a canonry (c.509.1)

Things a DA can do but only with the consent of the college of consultors
- to remove the chancellor and other notaries (c.485)
- to issue dimissorial letters for ordination but never to those who have been denied orders by
the diocesan bishop (c.1018)

C.428 says nothing new is to be done and the DA cannot do anything prejudicial to the diocese or episcopal rights. He is also specifically prohibited, whether personally or through another, from removing or destroying any documents of the diocesan curia or from changing anything in them.

C 429 says the DA is obliged to live in the diocese and to say a Mass for the people each week. Theses are also obligations of a diocesan bishop.

The DA can only be removed by the Holy See. He can resign and he presents the resignation to the college of consultors. If he is removed, resigns or dies then the college of consultors is to elect another. (c.430)

So that`s about it. The basic thing is that the DA is just watching the shop until the new bishop comes along.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Novus Sanguis

Novus Sanguis is the website of the project co-founded by Professor McGuckin and his team in Newcastle University, Great Britain, and the Foundation Jérôme Lejeune in Paris, France. It aims to use cord blood cells for stem cell research with all the benefits that can bring while being acceptable from a Catholic point of view. Dr Nico Forraz, a parishioner here at Forest Hall, is Prof. McGuckin`s colleague and recently made me aware of this new website.

Bishop Kevin Dunn was eager to support their work. Nico and Colin make regular trips to the Vatican too where there is much interest in this important work.

Funeral Arrangements for Bishop Kevin Dunn

I`m sorry to say I won`t be able to go to the Requiem Mass as we are interviewing for a new headteacher for our primary school that day but I hope to be able to get to the Monday night Mass
From the diocesan website.
Funeral Arrangements for Rt Rev Kevin J Dunn
at St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne

Bishop Kevin’s body will be received into St Mary’s Cathedral on
Monday 10th March 2008 at 7.00 pm
with the celebration of Mass, followed by a vigil of quiet prayer ending with
Compline at 10.00 pm

This Mass and Vigil of Prayer is open to all people who may wish to attend.
Requiem Mass
Bishop Kevin’s Requiem Mass will be celebrated at St Mary’s Cathedral
on Tuesday 11th March 2008 at 12.00 noon
Burial will follow immediately in the Cathedral Crypt

Unfortunately, due to the seating capacity in St Mary’s Cathedral, it is not possible for this Mass to be open to everyone and therefore entrance is by ticket only. Standing space may be available in the Cathedral precincts and courtyard and loudspeakers will broadcast the Mass outside.
Clergy from other Catholic Dioceses
Any priest wishing to concelebrate at either of the above Masses is asked to contact Bishop’s House on 0191 228 0003 or e-mail by Friday 7th March
Donations in lieu of flowers may be given for the Critical Care Unit at the Freeman Hospital. Cheques to be made payable to ‘Bishop Kevin Memorial Fund’ and sent to Bishop’s House, East Denton Hall, 800 West Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE5 2BJ
Please note that car parking is only available in the public car parks throughout Newcastle City Centre. The nearest ones are Times Square Car Park and Grainger Town Multi-Storey. For those travelling by train, Central Station is opposite St Mary’s Cathedral.

Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle: what happens now?

On the death of a bishop the governance of a diocese falls on the auxiliary bishop until the college of consultors ( a body of priests which is chosen to advise the bishop) can meet and they can elect a diocesan administrator. As we don`t have an auxiliary bishop then the college of consultors had governance until they elected an administrator.

Our college of consultors met yesterday afternoon and the former Vicar General, Canon Cunningham was elected as diocesan administrator. On the death of a bishop the Vicar General and all episcopal vicars lose authority. Canon Cunningham, as diocesan administrator enjoys the power of diocesan bishop `excluding those things whch are excepted by their very nature or by the law itself`. However canon 428 says: sede vacante nihil innovetur ( `when the see is vacant nothing new is to be done`).

The judicial vicar (and associate judicial vicar) remain in office and cannot be removed by the diocesan administrator but need to be confirmed in office by the new bishop. The diocesan chancellor remains in office and can only be removed from office by the diocesan administrator with the consent of the college of consultors.

Looking back at the history of this diocese there has always been an auxiliary bishop in the diocese on the death of the bishop since 1958 when bishop McCormack died (his auxiliary was bishop Cunningham who became bishop of the diocese on July 1st 1958) until the retirement of bishop Griffiths although he retired on 25th May 2004, the day bishop Dunn was consecrated.

Most of our bishops have been buried at Ushaw.

On-line book of condolence for bishop kevin Dunn

If you haven`t yet seen this the diocesan website has an on-line book of condolence for bishop Dunn. It can be found here.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Requiescat in Pace

From the diocesan website:

Requiescat in Pace: Rt Rev Kevin Dunn, Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Kevin has died very peacefully in the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, at 9.30pm on Saturday 1st March.

He was surrounded by his family including his mother, Cath, aged 88. Canon Cunningham, the Vicar General, was also present and anointed him and said the Prayers for the Dying, and together with the family said the Prayers for the Dead.

The Vicar General, Canon Cunningham, said: "We are very grateful to the doctors and nurses at the Freeman Hospital for the loving care and concern given to the Bishop and his family throughout his illness."

Bishop Kevin had been admitted to hospital in February and was transferred to intensive care with pneumonia.
A full obituary and press release will follow as soon as possible.

Kevin Dunn, Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle
Requiescat in Pace

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Bishop Kevin Dunn

From the diocesan website:

Saturday March 1st

On Thursday night Bishop Kevin's family were called, to come from Staffordshire, to the hospital as his condition was described as precarious. Canon Cunningham gave him the Sacrament of the Sick on Thursday evening.

Saturday 5pm
Bishop Kevin's condition has further deteriorated. Please keep him and the family in your prayers.

Friday February 29th
Last night Bishop Kevin's family were called, to come from Staffordshire, to the hospital as his condition was described as precarious. Canon Cunningham gave him the Sacrament of the Sick yesterday evening.

Canon Cunningham has visited the hospital this morning at 7.00 am and prayed with Bishop Kevin. The news from the hospital this morning is that his condition is a little bit more stable.

Please continue to pray for Bishop Kevin, his family and Pam, his housekeeper.