Saturday, October 31, 2009

Traditional `Anglican` Communion?

I hope we get some details soon about the Apostolic Constitution. Presumably as we have had the press conference it is written and ready to publish. I still think it is a brilliant gesture towards Anglicans who are seeking to find full communion with the Holy See. However recent conversations have thrown up a couple of points. I hear Anglican converts , both clergy and lay, asking what are the distinctive features of Anglicanism which Rome is seeking to preserve? I suppose we have to look to the Anglican Use parishes in the USA to get an idea. Also there seems uncertainty whether Rome will allow the ordination of married men to continue in the new ordinariate. Archbishop Hepworth says he believes this is the case, others seem to think not. Time will tell. However I found out that I know a couple of TAC clergy already. What is interesting is that like archbishop Hepworth himself they were previously Catholic clerics. The two I know were ordained for Ecclesia Dei institutes, one being a founding member of the FSSP (also here) and the other a deacon with the Institute of Christ the King: both were converts to Catholicism from Anglicanism before reverting. Maybe there are more. I have heard it said that the clergy will need to be considered on a case-by-case basis. Since it seems some have been ordained Catholic priests and others by episcopi vagantes and others by Anglican bishops that will certainly be true.
UPDATE: Thanks to Et Expecto for drawing my attention to today`s announcement. New candidates for the priesthood are to be celibate. It looks as if Fr McCready got married just in time!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

On the Supreme Importance of the Liturgy

Many thanks to the NLM for making these words of Cardinal Cañizares, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, available from an interview given to Catalunya Cristiana in Barcelona, at the end of his first year in that position. Good to see that the need for liturgical formation is recognised and that there is an awareness of the lack of a sense of mystery. I particularly like the line `The liturgy always looks towards God, not the community; it is not the community that makes the liturgy, but it is God who makes it.` and `We must recover the man who adores.`
Here are the relevant passages:

How can the sense of the liturgy be recovered?

At present we work in a very quiet manner on an entire range of issues having to do with educative projects. This is the prime necessity there is: a good and genuine liturgical formation. The subject of liturgical formation is critical because there really is no sufficient education [at the moment]. People believe that the liturgy is a matter of forms and external realities, and what we really need is to restore a sense of worship, i.e. the sense of God as God. This sense of God can only be recovered with the liturgy. Therefore the Pope has the greatest interest in emphasizing the priority of the liturgy in the life of the Church. When one lives the spirit of the liturgy, one enters into the spirit of worship, one enters into the acknowledgment of God, one enters into communion with Him, and this is what transforms man and turns him into a new man. The liturgy always looks towards God, not the community; it is not the community that makes the liturgy, but it is God who makes it. It is He who comes to meet us and offers us to participate in his life, his mercy and his forgiveness ... When one truly lives the liturgy and God is truly at the centre of it, everything changes.
So far away are we today from the true sense of the mystery?
Yes, there is currently very great secularization and secularism, the sense of mystery and the sacred has been lost, one does not live with the spirit truly to worship God and to let God be God. This is why it is believed to be necessary constantly to be changing things in the liturgy, to innovate and that everything has to be very creative. This is not what is needed in the liturgy, but that it really be worship, i.e. recognition of the One who transcends us and who offers us salvation. The mystery of God, which is the unfathomable mystery of his love, is not something nebulous, but is Someone who comes to meet us. We must recover the man who adores. We must recover the sense of the mystery. We must recover what we never ought to have lost. The greatest evil that is being done to man is trying to eliminate from his life transcendence and the dimension of the mystery. The consequences we are experiencing today in all spheres of life. They are the tendency to replace the truth with opinion, confidence with unease, the end with the means ... Therefore it is so important to defend man against all the ideologies which weaken him in his triple relationship to the world, to others and to God. Never before has there been so much talk of freedom, and never before have there been more enslavements.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What is going on at the Forward in Faith Assembly?

The website for Forward in Faith offers podcasts of the proceedings. The most useful site I have found to keep up with what is going on and how the assembly is reacting to the offer of an Anglican Ordinariate is on Br Stephen`s Sub Tuum blog. Here is his report on what bishop Hind, archbishop Hepworth and some of the younger clergy had to say:

First, it has been reported in the Telegraph that John Hind, Bishop of Chichester, is practically at the doorstep of St. Peter's. This was not at all how I heard his speech yesterday, which I didn't report on individually. The money quote in his speech to my mind was, " Everything points to the wisdom of holding steady just at the moment." From there he went on to raise his concerns about whether the ordinariates would be a real ecclesial community or merely a place for nostalga. He described the prospect of being merely a "religious movement" within the Roman Catholic church as "bleak." From there, he went on to defend the ARCIC vision of the Church of England as arriving at full communion with Rome as a worthy ecumenical partner. In short, he has stated that he's willing to be reordained, but he did not seem eager to do it tomorrow.

Archbishop Hepworth made a very successful speech praising the Holy Father's generosity, assuaging doubts and taking naysayers. He actively put the best possible face on the future for the delegates saying that they had be assured that they would be treated as Anglican Catholics, just as there are Roman, Ukranian, and Maronite Catholics--that while the ordinariates were not a rite, they looked an awfully lot like one. He said that they had been offered an ecclesial body for Anglicans that protects those crucial elements of spirituality, liturgy, theology, history, and discipline, that are part of the distinctive Anglican patrimony. He says that TAC national synods will be asked to begin voting their acceptance of the Holy Father's offer immediately.

Most importantly, Archbishop Hepworth assured the assembly that they would continue to be able to have married priests by way of dispensations which would be given generously. The early statements on this point were less clear than this. Obviously, this is a bombshell, not just for those gathered but for the entire Latin Rite. Progressive analysts had already seized on this point after the initial announcement of the apostolic constitution and we can count on much, much more being said in days to come.

Archbishop Hepworth had to reassure the assembly and those listening that this was what they had asked and prayed for for decades and now it had been generously given to them. To Catholics and to especially my fellow converts, since we often carry the biggest chips on our shoulders, who want to rage about the evils of Anglicanism and want people to come crawling, chastened, and cowed, remember that it is the Holy Father himself who has chosen to kill the fatted calf. It seems that the least we can all do is make merry. Reviewing the parable of the wages of the laborers in the vineyard might do us all some good.

The session with young priests and ordinands was the most heartening. Naturally you have to temper this a bit given that those who are yet to start their careers and those near the end have the fewest issues to deal with in joining the ordinariates, but it was still incredibly heartening.

Here are a few quotes:

I am in absolute awe of the Holy Father.

First I am a Christian, then I am a Catholic, and then I am an Anglican. I look forward to the day when I can fully be a Catholic Christian.

It is time we said thank you to the Holy Father. I look forward to the day we can say 'our Holy Father. Pope Benedict, thank you for all of us.

Archbishop DeNoia asked the Dominicans to pray for this intention ... now it is time for us to pray and ask for grace and humility to see beyond our agendas.

Wouldn't you be happy to have them as your priests?

The reports from the members of Synod were less encouraging and more in favor of working through the Church of England legislative process until there's truly no hope. That's been the agenda these folks have given everything but their lifeblood for over the last few years. Don't judge them too harshly.

So here is some information for those who ask what is distinctive enough about Anglicanism to justify setting up a ordinariate.

Other reflections of interest are those of the recent convert priest Jeffrey Steel who is in Durham.

Maybe this week we will hear more of the details of what is involved.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Liturgical Confusion

“The (Second Vatican Council’s) Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy stipulated vernacular language, not sacred language,” he added. “Did Jesus ever speak to the people of his day in words beyond their comprehension? Did Jesus ever use terms or expressions beyond his hearer’s understanding?”

So spoke bishop Trautman, former chairman of the U.S. bishops’ liturgy committee on October 22nd. Surely this isn`t right. The Second Vatican Council did not `stipulate` the use of the vernacular: it allowed it where it was thought to be useful. Latin remains the official language of the Roman liturgy. Also when Jesus was preaching he used language that people could understand but when he was praying he used Hebrew which was not the vernacular of the day but had come to be a sacred language by then. The language of the liturgy has never been the simple language of colloquial conversation. When Latin was adopted in the fourth century it was not the Latin of the street but a heightened form of the language. For more on this see Fr Hunwicke.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mgr Pozzo on the implementation of Summorum Pontificum

Many thanks to the NLM for this translation of an interview with Mgr Pozzo of the Ecclesia Dei Commission. It is very pleasing to see refuted the objection that the Extraordinary Form is only for those who have difficulty in coming to terms with the Ordinary Form but also for the young and that the request for the bishops to report on how things are going after three years is nothing to worry about.

Monsignor, a widespread restrictive interpretation of the motu proprio argues that the Papal provision is primarily if not exclusively, directed towards those groups and institutes that were already attached to the traditional form, and is not, by contrast, intended in any way to promote the extraordinary form. To this had already answered Card. Castrillón Hoyos, saying in London, in June 2008, that the Pope would actually like to have the 'Gregorian Rite' in all the parishes. What is your opinion?

The Motu Proprio is addressed to all the Catholic faithful who desire the extraordinary form of the Roman liturgy, not just to those who, prior to its promulgation, were attached to the ancient form of the Roman rite. Certainly it does intend to accomodate these latter and to heal old wounds, but the purpose of the document is also to allow the spreading of the extraordinary form, for the benefit of those who do not know it yet (for being too young to have had it experienced), or of those who rediscover with joy the Mass of their youth. The ever increasing spread of this liturgical treasure, [sc. which is] the Church's patrimony, can bring many benefits, spiritual and vocational, also through the mutual enrichment between the two forms of the Roman rite.

The Pope's letter accompanying the motu proprio refers to a term of three years, after which reports of the bishops will be collected to assess the situation. That may mean, as some argue, that the liberalization of the old Missal stipulated by the motu proprio is to be understood ad experimentum, or at least that at the end of this evaluation there may be restrictions regarding the the extraordinary form, such as for instance the return to a regime similar to that of the indults of 1984 or 1988?

The three-year term simply refers to a balance of the first three years of application. If there turn out to be serious difficulties, appropriate remedies will be found, always keeping in mind the essential purpose of the motu proprio.

From many parts obstacles opposed to the implementation of the motu proprio have been reported. We, too, have experienced them... What should an adequate group of lay people who find themselves in such situations of difficulty do to obtain a weekly Mass in the extraordinary form? And in what way can the Commission Ecclesia Dei intervene?

The answer is already written in the motu proprio: ask the parish priest and possibly look for a priest ready [sc. to celebrate, or learn to celebrate, the extraordinary form]. Should this prove impossible, it is necessary to turn to your bishop, who is called to seek an appropriate solution. If even this way no satisfaction of the request is obtained, write to the Commission Ecclesia Dei, which, however, deals with the bishops, who are naturally our interlocutor: they are asked for an assessment of the situation, to see what the actual difficulties are and how to find a remedy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Divorce and re-marriage and the Anglican Ordinariate

I`m wondering what will happen in the case of new members of the Anglican ordinariates who are divorced and re-married and in good standing according to their present provisions. There could be quite a lot of new work for our tribunals, or will they have their own tribunals? If so where will they get the canonists? Just a passing thought.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Personal Ordinariate for Anglicans

No doubt everyone will have seen this morning`s news about the new structure for Anglican converts to be set up by the Holy See. It will enable them to maintain aspects of their Anglican identity including married priests (but not married bishops). I am very pleased to see that this is going to happen and wish someone had had the vision to set this up back in the 90`s when there was a large influx of Anglican clergy into the Catholic Church. It was discussed then but Cardinal Hume was against it, I seem to recall.

I`m not sure if this means that we will just be accepting married Anglican clergy now or whether new married priests will be ordained for the Ordinariate. I suppose it has to be the latter. That will make for an interesting situation. However I wonder how much interest there will be in England? George Pitcher, the Religion Editor of Telegraph Media has this to say:

All I would add is that this is marvellous news for the Church of England’s prospects for making up women priests to bishops, without creating an Anglican schismatic bloodbath. Traditional Anglo-Catholics, many of whom do not want to relinquish their Anglican identity, have had nowhere to go on this issue, other than conversion to Rome with a complete abandonment of Anglicanism.

Pope Benedict has thrown them a timely lifeline. He has also thrown one to Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. The issue of women bishops, approved by the Church of England’s Synod, was running into the sand, with a controversial proposal this month to impose a two-tier structure, with male bishops still having oversight in dioceses over those Anglicans who couldn’t accept women’s episcopacy. Women priests quite rightly resisted the suggestion that they would be second-class bishops.

Pope Benedict has effectively provided a province that the Anglican Church couldn’t. Traditional Anglo-catholic Anglicans can go there, under the oversight of former Anglican prelates; married Anglo-Catholics might even be ordained into the Roman Catholic Church. There really is no excuse for Anglo-Catholics who can’t accept women bishops now. They must accept the Pope’s offer, or stay in the Anglican Church and accept women bishops. It’s no longer a case of put up or shut up, but rather go with an Anglican blessing, or stay with the Anglican way.

It`s an interesting point of view. What will happen about church buildings? I can`t imagine most Catholic bishops being interested in new ones as they are making plans to close down a portion of what they have. However as these former Anglicans will be under their own bishops and not Catholic diocesan bishops that won`t be their problem.

We could be in for lively times ahead. Will this be a model for bringing back the SSPX? There was talk a while back of a similar structure for the Extraordinary Form so that devotees need not suffer at the hands of unsympathetic local bishops. I`m not so sure that this would be a good idea now as it would make a ghetto out of the EF whereas with Summorum Pontificum it is becoming slowly (and painfully slowly at times), part of the life of the whole Latin Rite.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Meeting of the Northern Tribunals

Last week I went to Windermere for the annual meeting of the northern tribunals. It`s a while since I`ve been to one of these but it was a pleasant experience and good to meet others working in tribunals of the Church. I have borrowed the group photo taken by the bishop of Lancaster`s secretary which appears on the bishop`s blog.

In the morning, after the bishop of Lancaster had welcomed us, Mgr John Conneelly of the Westminster tribunal gave us a paper on the nature of marriage in the Orthodox Church and how this may have relevance for our work. I had sometimes wondered that since we say the Orthodox have valid sacraments, how do we cope with their discipline which allows a second or third marriage? If an Orthodox is in a second or third marriage, which is valid according to their law, do we accept that marriage if it becomes an issue in Catholic life? The answer is no we don`t: they would need a declaration of nullity from a Catholic tribunal for their first (and second) marriage.

In the afternoon Fr Brian Murphy, the Judicial Vicar of Liverpool, gave us some food for thought on how we may make the work of the Liverpool appeal tribunal easier by having a more uniform procedure throughout the Northern Province.

Next year we meet in Newcastle.

Extraordinary Form Pontifical Mass in St Peter`s Rome

I know this was all over the blogosphere yesterday but I just wanted to mention it too for those who maybe don`t read a lot of blogs. Fr Tim Finigan has an interesting post on the obstacles put in the way of anyone who was trying to find this Mass. (I`ve used the picture he chose too, as it is the best of those available.) However the first EF Pontifical Mass in St Peter`s, Rome for forty years or so is a great breakthrough. The celebrant is archbishop Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura. It must be exciting to be in Rome these days.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Douai Martyrs

The feast of the Douai Martyrs on October 30th is one of the major feasts of the year at Ushaw College, Durham. The college is one of two direct descendants of the seminary at Douai and last year celebrated its 200th anniversary at the Ushaw site. The Douai Martyrs were the more than 160 priests arrested and executed for working as priests in England in penal times of whom eighty have been beatified.
This year a number of priests of Hexham and Newcastle have decided to get together to celebrate a High Mass in the Extraordinary Form for the feast. This will be at 7pm on Friday 30th October at the Sacred Heart and English Martyrs at Thornley, Co Durham. All welcome. Any priest is welcome to come and sit in choir for the Mass. There will be a buffet afterwards.

On the True Understanding of Vatican II

I was much encouraged by this pastoral letter of Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City, USA, as reported today on the Catholic Culture site under the heading, Iowa bishop blasts ‘spirit of Vatican II,’ calls it ‘a ghost or demon that must be exorcised."

Here is the part that is quoted:

The question arises: Why has the implementation of the Council, in large parts of the Church, thus far been so difficult? Well, it all depends on the correct interpretation of the Council or - as we would say today - on its proper hermeneutics, the correct key to its interpretation and application. The problems in its implementation arose from the fact that two contrary hermeneutics came face to face and quarreled with each other. One caused confusion, the other, silently but more and more visibly, bore and is bearing fruit.
On the one hand, there is an interpretation that I would call “a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture,” it has frequently availed itself of the sympathies of the mass media, and also one trend of modern theology. On the other, there is the “hermeneutic of reform,” of renewal in the continuity of the one subject – Church – which the Lord has given to us. She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God.
The hermeneutic of discontinuity risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church. It asserts that the texts of the Council as such do not yet express the true spirit of the Council …
It is crucial that we all grasp that the hermeneutic or interpretation of discontinuity or rupture, which many think is the settled and even official position, is not the true meaning of the Council. This interpretation sees the pre-conciliar and post-conciliar Church almost as two different churches. It sees the Second Vatican Council as a radical break with the past. There can be no split, however, between the Church and her faith before and after the Council. We must stop speaking of the “Pre-Vatican II” and “Post-Vatican II” Church, and stop seeing various characteristics of the Church as “pre” and “post” Vatican II. Instead, we must evaluate them according to their intrinsic value and pastoral effectiveness in this day and age …
The so-called “spirit” of the Council has no authoritative interpretation. It is a ghost or demon that must be exorcised if we are to proceed with the Lord’s work.
Stirring stuff!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I was right about Blue Peter.

A few weeks ago I decided to preach on the life of St Thérèse of Lisieux in preparation for visit of her relics. I began by saying that my first memory of St Thérèse was through watching a feature on the story of her life on Blue Peter. When I stopped to think about it, it now seems highly unlikely that such a programme as Blue Peter would do a feature like that and I began to wonder if I had imagined the whole thing or had got mixed up.
Yesterday I was talking to someone who had been to a preparation session for the arrival of the relics . As part of the session they were shown the Blue Peter feature. Peter Purves told the story. I was so pleased to hear that I had been right and that it had really happened. My informant had searched for the episode on YouTube but it isn`t there. Maybe one day it will appear. I don`t suppose Blue Peter gave the tour of the relics any publicity this time.
I see the relics blog has published the numbers of visitors at each location. Newcastle with 5,000 didn`t really do that well: York managed 10,000 and Leeds 14,000. Still it certainly caught the imagination of people round the country. There`s an article in today`s Telegraph on the visit which tries to say what it all meant.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Tutorial Videos on the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite

Here is a series of Youtube videos giving instruction on celebrating the Extraordinary Form of Mass. The commentary is in Italian but I`m sure it will be useful to those who don`t have Italian who may use it in conjunction with Fortescue or Zualdi. I particularly liked the demonstrations of how not to do things together with a large X across the screen. It is good to see it is catching on in Italy. When I was in Tuscany last year I was pleasantly surprised to see how many churches had the EF. Thanks to Giorgio Roversi for the link.

Here`s one part of the series:

UPDATE: Now available with English commentary here.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Viva Nuestra Señora La Virgen Del Pilar!

Today at the request of some of our Filipino parishioners we had a Mass and celebration for La Virgen Del Pilar. I had heard of this devotion in Spain, at Saragossa, but wasn`t aware of the Filipino equivalent. The actual feast is on October 12th but people`s commitments meant it bringing it forward to today. Our Lady of the Pillar is patroness of Zamboanga city in Mindanao. The history is very interesting and can be found here. The fortress was dedicated to Our Lady of the Pillar in 1718.

Wikipedia says:

On September 21st, 1897 the virgin made an apparition, according to the people who witnessed it they saw the virgin standing mid-air over the Basilan Strait, she had her right hand raised to signal the onrushing waves to stop, saving the city from a tsunami.

I learned at the party today that also in the 1970`s, Zamboanga City was saved from a tsunami. At the Mass we prayed for all the victims of the recent bad weather in the Philippines. After Mass there was a party in the parish hall. I was surprised to learn that everyone at the Mass and party was from Zamboanga. I had mentioned the Mass on the parish newsletter and hope that now I have the idea of what it is about we will have a celebration next year on the date and that the rest of the parish may want to join in. It is good to enrich our parish life with festivals like this. Here are a couple of pictures of the food and of course the lechón, without which no serious Filipino party is complete. (Vegetarians may wish not to look!)

At the end of Mass we had the hymn for the Virgin of the Pillar. Here it is:
Virgen Santa Madre mia
Luz Hermosa claro dia
Que la tierra Zamboanguena
Que dignaste visitar
Este pueblo que te adora
De to mor, favour implora
Y te aclama y te bendice
Abrazando a tu pilar...
Pilar sagrado, faro esplendente
Rico presente de caridad
Pilar bendito, trono de Gloria
Tu a la Victoria nos llebaras
Tu a la Victoria nos llebaras
Cantad, cantad himnos de amor y alabanza
Cantad, cantad a La Virgen del Pilar
Cantad, cantad himnos de amor y alabanza
Cantad, cantad a La Virgen del Pilar....2x

Friday, October 02, 2009

St Thérèse in Newcastle

On Wednesday night I went down to St Andrew`s in Worswick St to visit the relics of St Thérèse. I got there at about 9.30 and found there was quite a long queue. However it kept moving and in all it was only about a fifteen minute wait to get in. By the time I left at about 10.15 there was no queue.

What I enjoyed most about the visit was that feeling that we are part of the universal Church: that these relics have been all over the world drawing Catholics to them in unity of faith. Sometimes in England it feels that we are going our own way and that developments in other parts of the Church don`t reach these shores. It has been mentioned recently that Cardinal Hume would not give permission for these relics to tour England while he was alive. I`d forgotten about that and remember being angry about it at the time. Maybe the cardinal who had worked hard to bring Catholicism into the mainstream of English life thought that if we were presented as a `bone-worshipping religion` to the outside world it would diminish his efforts. However there is no denying that the cult of relics has always been part of the Catholic faith although much eclipsed in recent times. Peter Brown`s book `The Cult of the Saints` I found quite exciting on this subject as he revealed the importance of the cult of relics in the early Church.

In the event it has been a good thing. It was encouraging to see so many people in St Andrew`s church and to see not just older people but a lot of younger ones too. I recognised a good few parishioners and a couple of attendees at the local SSPX church who sometimes come to the EF Masses in Longbenton. I wonder if many of the local SSPX followers went or whether they thought it was all tainted by being in a church where the OF is celebrated?

Above all it has made me revisit`The Story of a Soul` again and renew my acquaintance with the life of St Thérèse for which I`m grateful. Madame Evangelista has posted on her earlier visit that day. I spoke to one of our teachers today who had gone at 4.30 am and said there was a good crowd. If the result is that people think about prayer and heaven then I`m sure it will have been a great source of grace.