Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I`m sorry that this blog has been rather quiet of late but I was away last week and am just catching up on things. There have been some interesting things going on. I was moved by the post, highlighted by Fr John Boyle, of the testimony of Fr P O`Rourke who at the age of 83 has returned to saying the Mass of his youth. Also interesting is the case of the closure of the parish at Allerton Bywater in the diocese of Leeds, as reported by Damian Thompson, where the parish priest has been saying most of his Masses in Latin (OF and EF) at the request of his parishioners. The PP has been branded as `divisive`. Parishioners have been chaining themselves to the railings to protest against the closure of their church. It`s hard to know what to make of it as quite a number of churches in the Leeds diocese have been or will be closed. Bishop Roche wrote an instruction on the implementation of Summorum Pontificum which was rather restrictive and yet he has on the other hand appointed Fr Wiley to be diocesan co-ordinator for the EF Mass and there is going to be an EF Mass in the cathedral. Interestingly Allerton Bywater doesn`t appear in the list of EF masses on the Leeds LMS blog. It is hard to know exactly what the issues are at Allerton Bywater and bishops have a habit of knowing things that the rest of us don`t but one hopes that the voice of the parishioners will not go unlistened to.

Another post well worth reading is that of Fr Sean Finnegan on the various attitudes of Catholics today towards the liturgy (`Out Loud`) . His analysis is useful and thoughtful and I recommend having a read.


roydosan said...

Fr Brown, I've attended Mass at Allerton Bywater when I've had the occasion. The EF Mass was, as I understand it, a private Mass and so not publicly advertised. The NO was celebrated ad orientem and largely in Latin (with congregational singing of chant). In liturgical terms you could say the parish Mass followed the letter of Vatican II rather than the spurious 'spirit' of it. I've met Fr Mark and he explained that he gave a lot of catechesis about the place of ad orientem worship and Latin in the liturgy to his parishioners. It looks like the diocese is only prepared to accept the NO in English and versus populum though. The reasons cited for closing it - too many churches and too few priests sounds about right until you consider that although there are a lot of churches in the area this one has excellent attendance and the oft claimed shortage of priests does not seem right when you consider that Fr Mark will not be appointed to another parish.

Fr Michael Brown said...

Thanks Roydosan. I wonder why the EF Masses were private given that this need no longer be the case and since at least 50 parishioners are members of the LMS, as I understand? I have always maintained that the OF is essentially a vernacular Mass and that the OF in Latin is somewhat unnatural. Let`s hope a peaceable solution can be found.

Anonymous said...

Very glad Forest Murmurs is murmuring again.

I do see Fr. Brown's point. By 1967 with the 'New Order of Mass' (1967 vintage) the entire rite could be in the vernacular where approved by the Episcopal Conference. By the time the plenary 1970 missal came out Latin was quite a rarity - with an exception in Westminster where Cardinal Heenan had encouraged a 'Latin' Mass in the Central London churches.

Indeed the LMS parted company with the ALL, with some acrimony on both sides, over the question of rite over Latin by the mid-1960s.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Fr. Brown, please allow me to correct the last sentence of my previous post.

There had been growing tensions during the mid and late 1960s that led to the foundation of ALL in 1969.

However, my earlier innaccuracy doesn't change the point we agree on: although the 1970 missal always could be celebrated in Latin that was, and remains, an exception. By the mid-1960s it was clear that the movement for vernacular celebration was significantly ahead.