Monday, January 31, 2011

North East Catholic History Society

Lectures for 2011 start this Wednesday. The advertised talk by Peter Hills (`The Widdringtons - a Northumberland Family and the 1715 Jacobite Rising`) has had to be cancelled and instead there will be a talk by Fr Michael Sharratt on `John Barrow and the Jews`. Lecture starts at 2.15pm at St Andrews, Worswick Street.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

LMS Training Conference at Buckfast

You probably have read about this elsewhere but I have been asked to advertise it. These events have been very fruitful in alll kinds of ways so far.

Latin Mass Society Announces 2011 Priests Training Conference

The Latin Mass Society has announced its seventh residential conference for priests who wish to learn the Extraordinary Form of Mass. The conference will take place at Buckfast Abbey, Buckfastleigh, Devon from Tuesday 3rd to Friday 6th May.

Tuition will be given in small groups selected according to ability, and will cover Low Mass, Missa Cantata and Missa Solemnis. It is also hoped to provide tuition in the sacraments of baptism and marriage. Only rudimentary Latin is required.

There will also be a residential course for laymen wishing to learn to serve the Extraordinary Form.

The conference will begin late morning on the Tuesday, although there will be the opportunity for those travelling long distances to stay at Buckfast Abbey on the Monday night. The conference will end after lunch on the Friday.

There will be sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form each day; parts of the Office will also be sung.

The inclusive fee is £85 which covers all tuition, accommodation and board.

Application forms for both priests and servers training are available from the LMS office (020 7404 7284) or the LMS website (

LMS Chairman, Doctor Joseph Shaw said: “The LMS’s training conferences are now well-established in the Church’s calendar of activities. We have already trained over a hundred priests and many more Extraordinary Form Masses are being offered around the country due to our training activities”.
For Downloadable Pictures go to: and events/picture gallery/priests training conference at Downside Abbey August 2010

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Ordinariate and Hexham and Newcastle

During the week I was talking with two former Anglican clergy who now work as priests in this diocese and asked them whether through their contacts they knew of any Anglican clergy in the North East who were considering joining the Ordinariate. It seemed not. However today I noticed an article on Jeffrey Steel`s blog about the parish of St James the Great in Darlington. I`ve heard quite a bit in recent years about this parish and its worship. The vicar of 22 years standing is Fr Ian Grieves. In his newsletter he writes the following:
The Ordinariate provides us with an opportunity to stay together as priests and people, worshipping, loving and serving our Lord Jesus Christ through the Catholic tradition and our liturgical and musical heritage and enter into full communion with the See of Peter. We pray that the Church of England will be as generous as the Holy Father and allow us our buildings; buildings we have restored and refurbished at great cost to ourselves (we have raised over £150,000 to restore the church hall & almost £600,000 to restore the church). We have indeed come a long way in the last twenty odd years and we have much to give God thanks for - not least the renewal of our parish and congregation which now needs a secure future.
I hope you all will join me at Mass on Sunday 13th February 2011 at 10am, and afterwards in the Church Hall for a meeting to consider the Ordinariate. The principal speaker will be Father Keith Newton, formerly the Bishop of Richborough, who has given up everything to enter the Ordinariate, and who will give us: information, explanations, answer questions, and address concerns on the Holy Father's historic and generous offer to Anglicans.
So it seems there is some interest here and I`m very glad to hear it. Do go to De Cura animarum to read the whole story. Let`s pray that all goes well for the parish of St James and its exploration of the Ordinariate on 13th February.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

It`s grim up North

Yesterday`s local morning paper, the Newcastle Journal carried an article featuring Fr Zielinski (pictured above), parish priest of Prudhoe, judicial vicar, and dean of the Tyne valley area regarding the bleak future for the Catholic Church in this part of the world. This comes in the week when the bishop and his episcopal council have been away from Monday to Friday mulling over the future too. The Journal article says the bishop`s meeting was beginning yesterday but it ended yesterday. However here is a quotation:

FEARS the Catholic church could diminish in the region over the next decade have emerged in a new study.

Leading North East priest Father Paul Zielinski, of the Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, has warned of potential widespread closures and dwindling clergy cover at Mass attendances, if trends from the last 10 years continue.

The worrying scenario facing deaneries in Newcastle and Hexham were on the agenda at a crucial Bishop’s Council meeting which began last night.

Mass attendances in the diocese have continued to fall, dropping by 13,347 from 52,563 in 2001, to 39,216 in 2009.

Fr Zielinski, head of the deanery covering most of the Tyne Valley, has produced a list of concerning scenarios potentially faced by the church, alongside changes proposed for the other 17 deaneries also on the table at the debate.

The present number of active priests stands at 115 but is likely to fall to 73, warns Fr Zielinski.
He has also raised the prospect of many of the 181 parishes having to be cut back, with churches in the diocese covering Berwick to Teesside closing, priests’ houses being rented out and greater pressure put on retired priests, deacons and ministers to work again.

The consequences of falling Mass figures and the declining number of clergy were being debated at last night’s behind-closed-doors meeting, which is expected to last several days.
Fr Zielinski told The Journal last night: “We face a huge challenge in the future to maintain the current level of the Catholic church. My study appears gloomy but we must face the real problems head-on. The concept of Sunday worship is disappearing. People do not consider that day as a time for rest and reflection any more in our 24/7 culture.

“We are in danger of losing what makes the church a source of immense wellbeing.”

Personal Ordinariate established

The Personal Ordinariate was established today ( still not sure about the incardination of those deacons on the 13th then). I`m very pleased to see one of the three former bishops, Rev Keith Newton, is the Ordinary.

Here is the text of the Vatican announcement:


In accordance with the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus of Pope Benedict XVI (November 4, 2009) and after careful consultation with the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has today erected a Personal Ordinariate within the territory of England and Wales for those groups of Anglican clergy and faithful who have expressed their desire to enter into full visible communion with the Catholic Church. The Decree of Erection specifies that the Ordinariate will be known as the Personal
Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and will be placed under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman.

A Personal Ordinariate is a canonical structure that provides for corporate reunion in such a way that allows former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of their distinctive Anglican patrimony. With this structure, the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus seeks to balance on the one hand the concern to preserve the worthy Anglican liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions and, on the other hand, the concern that these groups and their clergy will be fully integrated into the Catholic Church. For doctrinal reasons the Church does not, in any circumstances, allow the ordination of married men as Bishops. However, the Apostolic Constitution does provide, under certain conditions, for the ordination as Catholic priests of former Anglican married clergy.

Today at Westminster Cathedral in London, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, ordained to the Catholic priesthood three former Anglican Bishops: Reverend Andrew Burnham, Reverend Keith Newton, and Reverend John Broadhurst.

Also today Pope Benedict XVI has nominated Reverend Keith Newton as the first Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Together with Reverend Burnham and Reverend Broadhurst, Reverend Newton will oversee the catechetical preparation of the first groups of Anglicans in England and Wales who will be received into the Catholic Church together with their pastors at Easter, and to accompany the clergy preparing for ordination to the Catholic priesthood around Pentecost.

The provision of this new structure is consistent with the commitment to ecumenical dialogue, which continues to be a priority for the Catholic Church. The initiative leading to the publication of the Apostolic Constitution and the erection of this Personal Ordinariate came from a number of different groups of Anglicans who have declared that they share the common Catholic faith as it is expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and accept the Petrine ministry as something Christ willed for the Church. For them, the time has now come to express this implicit unity in the visible form of full communion.
[00078-02.01] [Original text: English]

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Ordinariate and Incardination

Yesterday the three former Anglican bishops were ordained to the diaconate in the chapel of Allen Hall. This means they are now clerics and as such need to be incardinated (Cf canon 266.1). Yet the Ordinariate into which they are to be incardinated does at the time of writing still not exist. Very strange. So where have they been incardinated? Will the Ordinariate be established in time for their priestly ordinations tomorrow?
Also what ever happened to the long-awaited document clarifiying Summorum Pontificum? The last we heard it was almost imminent and would even be released before Christmas.
While I`m at it why are the Sons of the Holy Redeemer on Papa Stronsay still not full regularised years after their reconcilliation when other groups were sorted out very quickly?
All very odd.
And now Pope John Paul II`s beatification is announced. I still wish the normal procedure had been observed to give a longer perspective.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ushaw update

Many thanks to Leo for this update from the local morning paper, The Journal. Unfortunately this story is not one of those on the paper`s website. I`d recommend clicking on the extract above to enlarge it.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Pope Benedict:`the George Orwell of our time`

My eye was caught by an article with this title on the second page of the Catholic Herald today. Theodore Dalrymple, a non-Catholic, has an article in the Salisbury Review entitled `The Pope strikes back`. You can read the whole thing here. It is well worth reading. Here is the passage about George Orwell:

A great deal of the hostility to the Pope’s visit was likewise caused by his having been right, at least in some things, such as the insufficiency of consumerist materialism as a basis for a satisfactory existence. There are few human types less attractive, surely, than failed materialists, which is what the British, or at least so many of them, now are. They consume without discrimination what they have not earned: which is why many of them are so grotesquely fat as well as so deeply indebted. Indeed, there is scarcely any kind of debt or deficit to which we as a nation have not resorted in order to continue (at least for a time) on our vulgar and degraded way. A nation that behaves thus is quite without honour or self-respect, collective or individual. All this Benedict XVI has seen with a perfectly clear eye; and if what George Orwell once wrote, that we have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men, we might even call the Pope the George Orwell of our time.
And another part of the article:
`In pointing out some of the fallacies, oversimplifications, dangers and empirically unfortunate results of contemporary rationalist utopianism, the Pope is potentially provocative of the kind of spiritual crisis that John Stuart Mill recounts in his Autobiography. When he was twenty, Mill, who had hitherto been trained as a kind of calculating machine for the felicific calculus, asked himself a question, with (for him) devastating results:
Suppose that all your objects in life were realized; that all the changes in institutions and opinions which you are looking forward to, could be erected this very instant: would this be a great joy and happiness to you?’ And an irrepressible self-consciousness answered ‘No!’At this my heart sank within me; the whole foundation on which my life was constructed fell down. All my happiness was to have been founded in the continued pursuit of this end. The end had ceased to charm, and how could there ever again be any interest in the means? I seemed to have nothing left to live for.

In other words, Benedict XVI presents not a challenge to this or that piece of social policy, but to a whole Weltanschauung. And hell hath no fury like a questionable Weltanschauung questioned.

Here it is necessary for me to declare an interest, or rather lack of one. Just as one cannot write of the question of tobacco-control without declaring that one owns no shares in a tobacco company, so I must declare that I am not a Catholic, that I am not religious, that I am not therefore an apologist for the curia or anyone else. I am, in fact, not a systematic thinker at all, lacking the capacity or patience for it. And I disagree with the Pope on many things, but I do not therefore hate him.`