Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Last week I was with a group that stayed a couple of days at the Benedictine house at Argentan in Normandy. We went to witness the profession, as an oblate, of Dorothy, the organist at St Mary`s. Dorothy`s links with Argentan derive from her friendship with Mary Berry who often visited. For anyone who doesn`t know Mary Berry was, until her death on May 1st, a leading authority on Gregorian chant in the UK. Dorothy, who had been an Anglican sister for many years before she became a Catholic, lived in Cambridge for a number of years and was involved with Mary Berry`s chant group there. She was most keen that her friends should share in her profession and so off we went.

There are thirty-eight sisters at the monastery which is renowned for the quality of its chant. Mass is celebrated according to the Novus Ordo. I concelebrated on both days. It was an interesting experience. I have at various times in my priestly life been advised that instead of being enthusiastic about the EF I should be applying my energy to promoting the use of Latin in the OF. Well, here was an opportunity to see it celebrated with the best chant and with an ad orientem altar. I had the the experience of chanting the concelebrants parts of Eucharistic Prayers 3 and 4 in Latin which is not something I`ve ever expected to do. However, while to the casual observer there would appear to be little to separate this Mass and the EF , I still felt the lack of the EF. I have introduced a `chant Sunday` once a month at Forest Hall at the 10.30 Mass which seems to be going well and in which most of the ordinary of the Mass is sung to chant but I still believe that the OF is essentially a vernacular liturgy at heart.

The sisters were very welcoming to our group. On Wednesday afternoon we went to the Grand Parloir for recreation: the sisters on their side of the grill and our group on the other. Each side introduced themselves, Dorothy and a friend sang a song about Zacchaeus ( the subject of the Gospel at Mass as it was the feast of the dedication of the church) and the sisters sang us a three-part Magnificat. The sister`s hospitality was second to none; the food and accommodation were excellent. It is a pity that they have not had any novices for a while and I hope that changes before too long.

Here is Dorothy making her profession:

Here is our group ( apart from Alan who took the photo).

Vatican approval for `Fit for Mission? Church`

I was glad to see this story today on LifeSiteNews. Apart from reservations I have over its interpretation of Summorum Pontificum, I was much encouraged by Fit for Mission? Church.

Here`s the article.

Vatican Strongly Endorses Document Calling for Restoration of Authentic Catholicism in England

By Hilary White

LANCASTER, UK, September 22, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Vatican has given a ringing endorsement of a paper by a UK bishop that calls for the restoration of genuine doctrine and practice in the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

Just over three weeks after the release of the document Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy, has written to Bishop Patrick O'Donohue to recommend his new book, "Fit for Mission? Church", saying it provides "an effective, practical instrument for advancing the much heralded New Evangelisation."

"If this renewal of the Faith is to take root, it cannot remain a mere 'slogan but must be woven into the web of contemporary culture. Fit for Mission? Church gives much needed indication as to the means of accomplishing this great mission of the Church," the archbishop wrote."

In his introduction, Bishop O'Donohue wrote that the document was produced to help "foster and promote an authentic Catholic identity." Catholics, he said, face "the challenge of secular humanism, the question of moral values in a scientific-technological culture, and the increasing tensions caused by reason sundered from faith."

The loss of Catholic identity, he wrote, stems from the rejection of true Catholic doctrine within the Church's structures, coupled with a widespread misinterpretation of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Asking, "Have we forgotten what it means to be Catholic?", he continued, "We have all witnessed with alarm many who profess to be Catholics disavowing the Church's teaching authority... dismissing apostolic traditions and the doctrines of the Fathers and giving the place of honour to the fashionable opinions of society."

The Lancaster diocese made the document public at the end of August as a response to a 16-month consultation process examining their 108 parishes. The document is a stinging criticism of the severe decline of the Catholic institution in Britain and its failure substantially to respond to the increasingly secularist culture.

In March this year, after the publication of his previous paper, "Fit for Mission? Schools", in which the bishop called for the restoration of a genuine Catholic character to the Catholic schools, Bishop O'Donohue was called before a Parliamentary education committee to answer the government's charges of "fundamentalism."

Archbishop Piacenza also said the Congregation was "somewhat amazed" over the opposition by government to the "schools" document, calling O'Donohue's initiative "an appropriate and legitimate exercise of Episcopal authority by a Successor of the Apostles charged by God, and by the Church, to ensure that the Faith is transmitted correctly and in its entirety, to the People of God entrusted to his care."

O'Donohue's criticism of secularised "values-free" sex education was particularly galling to government education officials, who face accusations that their programs have done nothing but exacerbate the teen pregnancy problem. But while government officials browbeat the bishop in a committee hearing, William Cardinal Levada, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote a ringing endorsement, saying he was "delighted" with the schools document that, he said, "challenges the ascendancy" of relativism.

Bishop O'Donohue wrote in the schools document, "Parents, schools and colleges must reject secularized and anti-life sex education, which puts God at the margin of life and regards the birth of a child as a threat."

"Fit for Mission? Church" reiterates the bishop's concerns over the decline is the genuine Catholic character in the Church and even more strongly condemns Britain's love affair with the Culture of Death. He points to Britain's acceptance of abortion as the solution to unexpected pregnancy, saying it has contributed to the country's growing violent crime problem.

"For 41 years we've lived in a state-sponsored culture of death that has killed five million children, and we're now surprised that some of the surviving children have turned out violent with no regard for the sanctity of life?" he wrote.

"How many children know that their mothers have had an abortion? What effect will it have on them knowing that they have been deprived of a brother or sister through abortion?
"If a society holds human life so cheaply is it any surprise that young people will also hold life cheaply and engage in violence?"

He pointed specifically to the acceptance of abortion by government as a contributing factor, saying when the state sponsors "crimes against life is it any wonder that criminality in general thrives, and seeks to take advantage of the coarsening and darkening of conscience?"

While his fellow bishops have remained silent on both documents, Bishop O'Donohue has received the enthusiastic support of a multitude of Catholic bloggers, most of whom differ strongly with the prevailing ultra-liberal position of the Catholic Church of England and Wales. Many have expressed their hopes that, despite coming close to retirement age himself, he will be chosen to replace the soon-to-retire Cormac Cardinal Murphy O'Connor in the see of Westminster.

One blog commenter noted, "Perhaps if more of our Bishops were as sharp and outspoken as Bishop O'Donohue we would not now be facing the 'Modern Britain' that is fast becoming the world leader in anti-life and anti-family government sponsored policy."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Today`s Brinkburn Mass

A smaller congregation than usual came for Mass at Brinkburn today but the weather was good and the music wonderful. After Mass there was a reception for Ian Graham to thank him for all his work since 1993 promoting Gregorian chant in this diocese. We are going to miss him very much. Above is a picture from today`s Mass.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Mass at Brinkburn Priory

Tomorrow the annual EF Mass at Brinkburn priory will take place. The weather forecast is good and we have a full clergy team for a Solemn High Mass as well as servers and two choirs. The Schola will be re-united with its former director Ian Graham who has recently moved south for work. The Rudgate Singers will be singing Josquin`s Ave Maris Stella Mass and motets by Guerrero and de Rivafrecha. All in all it should be a fabulous occasion. Mass starts at noon.
Above is a picture of last year`s Missa Cantata.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Solemn High Mass at St Mary`s Cathedral, Newcastle

On Saturday night I had the honour of being celebrant at a Solemn High Mass at St Mary`s cathedral. This was an important occasion as it was the first such celebration at the cathedral that we were aware of since the introduction of the missal of Paul VI. The Mass was organised by the Hexham and Newcastle branch of the Holy Family Guild to mark the 40th anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae.

Here in the sacristy before Mass are the clergy. On the left is Fr Emerson, the UK superior of the FSSP. I first came across Fr Emerson in 1983 when he was celebrating Mass in the Station Hotel just across the road from the cathedral for the Society of St Pius X. It was good to have made it across the other side of the road to the cathedral at last! It was hard to imagine in 1983 that that day would ever come twenty-five years later. On my left is Fr Phillips, the parish priest of Stella, who often takes the role of subdeacon on these occasions. Also pictured are Fr Angus and the cathedral curate, Fr Warren, who also preached at the Mass.

There are plans at the cathedral to move the altar further back from the front of the sanctuary. In its present position it made the arrangements for the EF a little difficult but I`ve managed in more restricted spaces. (A nuptial Mass at St Joseph`s Hartlepool many years ago comes to mind.)

Unfortunately very few pictures appear to have been taken of the Mass. Here is the best.

Here is a somewhat shakier one.

The vestments were a lovely set acquired from the Poor Clare convent at Darlington. The decoration is eighteenth century mounted on material in the 1930`s.

Unfortunately very few singers turned up for the Mass and the choir of three and an organist were rather stretched to make an impact in the cathedral. If we are fortunate to return to the cathedral I hope that we can make sure there is a large enough choir for the Mass.

Fr Warren preached very well on the theme of Humanae Vitae. I hope I`ll be able to get a copy of his sermon.

The Mass was very well attended with a large number of young people there. Madame Evangelista has given her own impressions here. It was somewhat strange that a number of Latin Mass stalwarts from the diocese were not there but maybe the thought of coming into town on the night that Newcastle United fans were angry about the situation at the club deterred them.

We had a full team of servers and it was also good to see that three of the cathedral`s own serving team came along too.

After the Mass there was a dinner at the Assembly Rooms where at a rather late hour three talks were given. The last speaker only finished at 11.30pm which was beginning to feel well past my bedtime. The longest talk came from Mr Pollard who spoke vigorously of the demographic danger arising from the lack of young people in Western society.

Many thanks go to Fr Leighton, the cathedral dean for giving his permission for this Mass. I hope it can become an annual event as a sign that Pope Benedict`s words in France yesterday hold true in the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle:

No one is too many in the Church. Everyone, without exception, must be able to feel at home, and never (must he feel) rejected.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pope Benedict speaks again about Summorum Pontificum

Today at a meeting with the French episcopate at Lourdes Pope Benedict said, with regard to Summorum Pontificum, the following:

Some fruits of these new provisions have already manifested, and I hope that the indispensable pacification of spirits is, by the grace of God, coming about. I appreciate the difficulties that you encounter, but I have no doubt that you can achieve within a reasonable time satisfactory solutions for all, so that the seamless robe of Christ does not tear further. No one is too many in the Church. Everyone, without exception, must be able to feel at home, and never (must he feel) rejected.
Thanks to the NLM for this.
There is also an article by John Allen of the American National Catholic Reporter about this.
Given that the Holy Father is speaking to an audience that have not been renowned for tolerance for the EF then it is good to see him making this point.
John Allen remarks: Most French observers heard in those words a clear expectation from the pope that the bishops will not erect new obstacles to celebration of the old Mass.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pope Benedict speaks today about Summorum Pontificum

This story has appeared on Zenit today:

Pontiff Denies Claim 1962 Missal Is a Regression

Calls Liturgy a Living, Developing Reality

EN ROUTE TO PARIS, SEPT. 12, 2008 (Zenit.org).- An allowance for the celebration of Mass according to the 1962 Missal is in no way a return to the past, but rather an expression of pastoral concern, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this today en route to France; he gave a brief press conference on the plane, answering four questions previously submitted by the journalists selected to be in the press corps accompanying the Holy Father.

The Pontiff said it is "groundless" to fear that "Summorum Pontificum" -- which opened the way for a wider celebration of the Mass according to the 1962 Missal -- is a regression.

"This 'motu proprio' is simply an act of tolerance, with a pastoral objective, for people who have been formed in this liturgy, who love it, know it and want to live with this liturgy," he said. "It is a small group, given that it presupposes a formation in Latin, a formation in a certain culture. But it seems to me a normal demand of faith and pastoral concern for a bishop of our Church to have love and tolerance for these people and permit them to live with this liturgy."

"There is no opposition whatsoever between the liturgy renewed by the Second Vatican Council and this liturgy," Benedict XVI continued. "Each day, the Council fathers celebrated Mass according to this old rite and, at the same time, have conceived a natural development for the liturgy in all of this century, since the liturgy is a living reality that develops and that conserves its identity in its development."

"Therefore, there are certainly distinct accents, but a fundamental identity that excludes a contradiction, an opposition between the renewed liturgy and the preceding liturgy," the Pope affirmed. "I think that there is the possibility of mutual enrichment. It's clear that the renewed liturgy is the ordinary liturgy of our times."


If you are interested in knowing how we got from this

to this

or this

and how we might get back to this

read this.

Thanks to the NLM blog.

Pope to tighten up on Marian visions

This story appears in the Times today. Much has been said about the pope`s choice of Benedict as his papal name with regard to Europe and the liturgy but this is worthy of his name-sake, the great canon-lawyer pope, Benedict XIV whose book on beatification and canonisation of saints established firm criteria for identifying when an event could be said to be the result of the supernatural intercession of a saint and when it could be said to be purely natural. I`ve not read the work but have read quite a lot about it in Renee Haynes` Philosopher King: Pope Benedict XIV.

Maybe we are moving closer to getting some kind of verdict on the events at Medjugorge which have always struck me as less than authentic.

Pope urges crackdown on reported visions of Mary

Richard Owen in Rome

The Pope has instructed Vatican officials to adopt stricter criteria for the approval of visions of Mary.

As Pope Benedict XVI began his first visit as pontiff to France, being greeted at Paris airport by President Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni, it emerged that he had asked a Spanish Jesuit to draw up new guidelines for bishops around the world on the recognition of reported apparitions by the Virgin Mary.

The Vatican said it had asked Monsignor Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer to launch his investigation because the Pope wanted to avoid "excesses and abuses" of such visions. The pontiff believes bishops should resist being swayed by the emotional reaction of believers and be guided instead by strictly applied "scientific, psychological and theological criteria".

Ignazio Ingrao, Vatican correspondent of the weekly news magazine Panorama, said the inquiry had been prompted because of the readiness of a bishop of Civitavecchia, the port north of Rome, to approve reports that a statue of the Madonna owned by a local family had wept tears of blood. The bishop even claimed to have seen the tears himself while holding the statue in his arms. The bishop was later replaced.

The Vatican is also sceptical about reported Marian apparitions since 1981 at Medjugorge in Bosnia-Herzegovina, despite the fact that the site is visited by two million pilgrims a year.
Vittorio Messori, an Italian Catholic writer who is close to the Pope, said the then Cardinal Ratzinger had told him in 1985 that "patrience and caution" were the key to validating Marian visions. "No apparition is indispensable to the faith" the future Pope told Messori. "Tbe Revelation ended with Jesus Christ".

Guidelines for the approval of apparitions and revelations were last issued in 1978. They lay down that a diocesan bishop can "either on his own initiative or at the request ofjugorgje the faithful" choose to investigate an alleged apparition. He then submits a report to the Vatican for approval.
The news came as the Pope visited France and prepared to hold talks with Mr Sarkozy as well as visiting a religious shrine at Lourdes. France is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic - at least nominally - but also has large Muslim and Jewish communities and adheres to the separation of church and state. Mr Sarkozy is himself a lapsed Catholic who has been divorced twice. While in the country, Benedict is to deliver a keynote address on the role of religion in society to the French Academy, of which he has been a member since 1992.

Before leaving Rome on his trip, Benedict, who speaks fluent French, said he would pray at the feet of Our Lady of Lourdes for the Church, the "sick and abandoned", and peace in the world.
"I go as a messenger of peace and fraternity," he said in a message to the French people. "Your country is not unknown to me. On several occasions I have had the joy to visit it and to appreciate its generous tradition of hospitality and tolerance, as well as the solidity of its Christian faith and its lofty human and spiritual culture."

He added: "May Mary be for all of you, and in particular for young people, a Mother always attentive to the needs of her children, a light of hope that illuminates and guides your ways."


I know this is not news but this morning at Mass it irritated me again that we have to wait for the whole new translation of the Mass to be published before we can obey the Vatican directive that in the consecration of the chalice we are to say which will be offered for you and for many, whereas as soon as it was thought that the original, odd, translation for you and for all men had to have the men deleted we were ordered to get to work with a biro crossing out men.

Oh well. I`ll try not to be too cynical.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Another cathedral Mass: Edinburgh

It was brought to my attention that another cathedral, St Mary`s in Edinburgh, has hosted an EF Mass today. This time it was a Requiem and there is a report about it on Gerald Warner`s Telegraph blog. I couldn`t see a mention of it on the cathedral newsletter but I presume the cathedral didn`t collapse. The picture above is the best I could find of the interior.
I`m giving an afternoon of recollection to Una Voce Scotland next month so look forward to hearing about developments north of the border.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

LMS Northern Priests` Training Conference

The Leeds LMS blog`s had a post a few days ago concerning a training conference for the Extraordinary Form to be held at Ushaw in February from Tuesday 17th. - Friday 20th. Apparently this will not be instead of the Oxford training conference.

I`m glad something is happening on this front after the one day conference planned for last year was cancelled. In many ways Ushaw is an ideal setting and with its many side altars should make priests` Masses easier than at Oxford. I can think of a good number of well-qualified priests from the Northern Province who I hope will help out.

Let`s hope it will appeal to priests who are at present curious about the EF but uncertain as to how to proceed.

Here`s what the Leeds LMS blog says:

The LMS Committee agreed today to sponsoring its first Northern Conference to train Priests in offering the 1962 Rite of Mass. Mr. Waddington, who acknowledged my own input in the proposal presented the paper which was received enthusiastically for a variety of diverse reasons.

The Conference is scheduled to take place in February in one of the most northerly English Dioceses. Issues and suggestions raised by the clergy who attended Merton in the Summer will be addressed at this Conference as good practice demands.

This Conference is not instead of the Oxford Conference but in addition to it.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Newcastle Woe

I`ve not said anything yet about the events that have engulfed the city with the departure of Kevin Keegan but I was pleased to see that the chairman of our parish council at SS Peter and Paul`s, Longbenton has another string to his bow as chairman of the Independent Newcastle United Supporters Club. As such Frank has been widely quoted in the press.

I`ve not been to a home game for over ten years but still take an interest and felt the general gloom that descended with the news this week. Maybe I should just concentrate on supporting Gateshead FC: their home ground I could see from the steps of my last presbytery and they seem to be doing ok in the Blue Square North League!
It looks like the emotional rollercoaster may continue if the sixth richest man, in the world, Anil Ambani, is really serious about buying NUFC.
In the meantime what is really now bothering people here is the dreadful weather!
I see the odds for the next permanent manager of Newcastle United being Kevin Keegan are only 7-2! I wonder what the odds would be for him being the next bishop of Hexham and Newcastle?

Forest Murmurs and Spain

I was intrigued to see that Una Voce Malaga has picked up on the Mass we had at Dilston in a round up of Masses from around the world. Here is a another picture I found today of the same Mass. I hope the Mass next Saturday at our cathedral gets good coverage. I was pleased to see it mentioned on the cathedral website. Who knows it may even merit a mention in the Northern Cross, or even the diocesan website!

A few days in Scotland

Last week Fr Briggs and I ventured north of the border for four days, two in Edinburgh and two at St Andrews. We went to a couple of concerts and an opera (Szymanowski`s King Roger) at the Festival and then headed off to Fife. At the first concert we had the good fortune to run into Fr Andrew Southwell, who is well-known in traditionalist circles. I said we were planning to visit Falkland Palace on the way to St Andrews as I remembered it being a place with Catholic connections and Father was able to tell us it has the unique distinction of being the only royal palace with a Catholic chapel. The last member of the royal family to visit Falkland was Charles II! It had fallen largely into disrepair until the third Marquis of Bute took over as Keeper in 1887. The main gates are seen above. Below is the interior of the chapel.

I can`t remember the last time I was in St Andrews and it seemed strange to be back in the place I was a student. Most of my memories of my time there involved bad weather so we were lucky simply to have cloudy weather one day and real blue skies and sunshine the next. Many vocations have come from the university. In my time at the English College in Rome there were six former students in the city studying for the priesthood and five of them were ordained. I was able to show Fr Briggs ( who had never been there before) some of the sights. Unfortunately we didn`t get in to St Leonard`s chapel where, a few years ago, I acted as subdeacon for the Requiem Mass for Miss Neilson, the president of Una Voce, Scotland for many years, but I was able to point out the tomb of bishop Kennedy in St Salvator`s chapel, the university chapel, (see picture below) where in a fit of youthful Catholic zeal one student managed to deposit a statue of Our Lady in one of the niches of the tomb.

I believe he was found out and reprimanded. Shortly after I left, Catholic student life really took off in a big way at the university through two groups, one led by the Faith movement and another which supported the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. I`ve no idea what goes on there now in the Catholic chaplaincy but hope it is still producing vocations to the priesthood.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

September Events

This month there are a couple of notable events happening which I`m looking forward to. On September 13th at 6pm there will be a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St Mary`s Cathedral. (I`ve mentioned it before here.) Last year there was talk of having such a Mass to mark the coming into effect of the Motu Proprio but nothing ever materialised. I`m delighted that it will happen this year and very near to the first anniversary of the date. I am honoured to be the celebrant, Fr Emerson, FSSP, will be the deacon and Fr Phillips of Stella will be the subdeacon. The preacher will be Fr Warrren of the cathedral. The music is being organised by Mike Forbester of the Rudgate Singers. However this Mass would never have happened if it had not been for the work of the MacGregors of the Holy Family Guild: they have organised it to mark the fortieth anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae. There is a dinner organised in the Assembly Rooms afterwards with guest speakers. Today is the last day to get a ticket for the meal (price £25).
The following Saturday, at noon, sees the annual Mass at Brinkburn Priory in Northumberland. It will be special this time as it will be the last time our schola director, Ian Graham, will direct the music as he is moving out of the area with a new job. He will be much missed. The Rudgate Singers will sing the Ordinary.

Monday, September 01, 2008

More good news on non-embryonic stem cells

This is courtesy of The Scotsman and I found it on the CatholicScotland blog

IMPROVED treatments for schizophrenia and motor neurone disease could be available within two decades thanks to Scottish experiments using a new type of stem cell.

In what was recognised as a major breakthrough, the scientists who cloned Dolly the sheep are now using stem cells first harvested from human skin less than a year ago. These have the same qualities as those controversially taken from embryos.

And already work has started in Edinburgh to use cells donated by patients at the Western General Hospital to try to find new treatments for diseases of the nervous system.

The work, which was described yesterday at a conference organised by the Scottish Stem Cell Network, has the potential to revolutionise the treatment of little-understood diseases such as schizophrenia and motor neurone disease, according to Sir Ian Wilmut, who chaired the conference.

Speaking to The Scotsman, the scientist, famous for Dolly the sheep, said he thinks the team in Edinburgh could have a breakthrough within years.

He said: “There’s the possibility that in maybe ten years, or 20 years, there will be much more effective treatments for these diseases because of these skin cells.”

The team of scientists, led by professor David Porteous at the University of Edinburgh, are working with cells known as induced pluripotent stem cells. Like embryonic stem cells, they can turn into any cell in the body – from skin to heart, liver and nerve.

However, they do not attract the same controversy as embryonic stem cells, as they do not involve the destruction of a human embryo. They can also be harvested more easily – requiring just a skin sample.

Due to their ability to transform into any cell in the body, the stem cells taken from the skin of patients at the Western General can be used to make a sample of nerve cells equivalent to those in the person who has the disease.

As the researchers spot what is wrong with these nerve cells, they will be able to make informed guesses as to the type of drugs that could treat them.

“For the first time, people will have in the laboratory large numbers of nerves to study and test for drugs,” said Sir Ian.

He thinks the potential to use induced pluripotent stem cells to discover new treatments makes them hugely important – more so even than his famous success in creating cloned Dolly.

He said the cells have the potential to “revolutionise” the development of drugs to treat disease.
Around the world, similar experiments are using induced pluripotent stem cells to find cures for other conditions, including a team in London looking at Parkinson’s disease.

But Professor Hans Schoeler, from Germany, who also spoke at the conference, told The Scotsman the stage has not yet been reached where pluripotent stem cells can replace embryonic stem cells.

Fit for Mission: Church

I`ve been away for a few days to catch some of the Edinburgh festival and to re-visit St Andrews where I was a student between 1978-82. I went with Fr Charles Briggs as mentioned in an earlier post. More of that later. However I got back to find that the bishop of Lancaster`s new document has been released. I`ve only dipped into it so far but it looks very good indeed. I think we`ve needed a bishop to talk like this for a very long time. What a pity he is so near to retirement.

Being me, I did a word search on `Summorum` to see if anything had been said about the Motu Proprio and this is what I found:

To those ‘stable groups of faithful’ within my diocese availing themselves of the extraordinary form I would make the following suggestions as your pastor in accordance with the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum:
 Active participation in the life of your parish is
essential to being in full communion with the
Catholic Church. Therefore, it is my earnest hope
that you will not abandon participation in your
parish’s use of the ordinary form.

 Avoid habitual travelling around the diocese to participate in the extraordinary form if this
means you are no longer an active member of your local parish.

 Any attitude of superiority due to participation in the extraordinary form is to be avoided as a danger to the unity and well-being of the Church.

 Equally, there must be no lack of charity or hospitality towards those ‘stable groups of faithful’ who ‘continue to adhere with great love and affection to the earlier liturgical forms’ as this too damages the unity and well-being of our local Church in communion with the See of Rome.

Fair points I suppose. Sometimes supporters of the EF are accused of acting with an air of superiority. My reply has always been to say that the EF is really for those of us who are a bit weaker. If you can glimpse the mysterium tremendum et fascinans in a Mass celebrated on a coffee table in a sitting room with pottery vessels and a priest only using a stole then good luck to you but I found it difficult to do so.

On the other hand what is the actual provision of EF Masses in Lancaster? According to the LMS listings there are only two regular Masses a month and both at different locations. Nowhere has a weekly Sunday Mass. Is this the spirit of the Motu Proprio?

However I did enjoy this part of the document on Mass in general:

Over the years I have observed in some of our parishes an over-emphasis on the community dimension of Mass that has at times eclipsed reverence and adoration of the divine. Of course, the role of the community is essential, but at times there are diversions and distractions, such as:

Performances within the Mass; (I take this to include `liturgical dance`)

Noisy celebrations not conducive to prayer;

Concert pieces;

Extended signs of peace;

Endless commentaries and Prayers of the Faithful that become collects or mini-homilies.

Such distortions can reflect the common Christological error of emphasising the humanity of Jesus, to the exclusions of any meaningful sense of His divinity.

I am certain that for liturgy to enable us to participate in the life of the Holy Trinity we must maintain a sensitive balance between human participation and reverence of the divine.

It certainly makes an interesting read and I look forward to working through it in the next few days. There is something in it for everyone!