Monday, May 30, 2011

Cardinal Pell says Bishop Morris sacking 'a tragedy' but also 'a useful clarification' :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

I thought this reaction of Cardinal Pell to the removal of bishop Morris was interesting especially in the way the cardinal says it has clarified issues. Also I thought it was worth quoting for the insight that an orthodox approach, a happy acceptance of the magisterium results in vocations and growth for the Church.

Cardinal Pell says Bishop Morris sacking 'a tragedy' but also 'a useful clarification' :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)
Cardinal Pell was both balanced and charitable in his assessment of Bishop Morris’s legacy.

“He’s a very good man. He had a lot of pastoral strengths. He’s got a lot of good points. He’s done of lot of good work. He’s got quite a strong following in the diocese.”

“But the diocese was divided quite badly and the bishop hasn’t demonstrated that he’s a team player. I mean even at the end he didn’t wait for the official Vatican announcement.”

“He sent around messages to every parish, to all his priests, the Australian bishops before the official announcement and since then he’s made a number of public announcements which haven’t been helpful.”

As for critics of the Pope’s decision to sack Bishop Morris?

“There’s been a predictable chorus from a minority but such is life.”

The job of rebuilding things in Toowoomba now falls to Bishop Brian Finnegan of Brisbane who has now been appointed apostolic administrator until a new bishop can be found. Cardinal Pell said it’s time “to look to the future.”

“You know, life moves on, but also I think it will be a useful clarification for people that Catholic doctrine is there to be followed and bishops take promises to defend the integrity of Catholic teaching.”

Cardinal Pell believes that it’s this orthodox approach that is reaping apostolic benefits in many parts of Australia including Sydney. He points to an increased number of priestly and religious vocations, vibrant university chaplaincies and the legacy of World Youth Day in 2008.

“Young people don’t see the Catholic Church as being inevitably in decline at least in most parts of Australia.”

“We’re doing what Christ wants, and I think that if you do that you’ve always got to be optimistic”

“There’s life and energy and promise.”

Friday, May 27, 2011

Institute of Christ the King confirms apostolate in Shrewsbury diocese

Thanks to Fr Blake for the news that the Institute of Christ the King and the diocese of Shrewsbury have confirmed that the Institute will take over the running of the church of SS Peter and Paul, New Brighton. The Catholic Herald has the story here. This is very exciting as it is the first time in this country an Ecclesia Dei institute has been given possession of a church and so is quite a break-through. Once people see that the diocese of Shrewsbury does not collapse because of this I hope it leads to a greater acceptance of the Extraordinary Form and the Ecclesia Dei institutes. The Fraternity of St Peter has two canonically erected houses in the UK and it would be good to see them entrusted with a church too.

Last week at the Canon Law Society annual conference I heard many good things about bishop Davies of Shrewsbury and was given a copy of the new diocesan magazine: a small (A5) magazine which has replaced the diocesan newspaper. Fr Stephen Dwyer, the editor explains that the new magazine will be a quarterly and is designed to allow the bishop to share his thoughts and plans for the diocese at greater length than possible elsewhere. All the articles are by priests of the diocese and include a reflection on the recent apostolic exhortation on Scripture `Verbum Domini` an article by the vicar general, Monsignor Egan on the Marian Year that the diocese is having (which concludes in November when the bishop will rededicate the diocese to Our Lady, Help of Christians), an article on vocations and one on marriage. It also includes the bishop`s Lenten Pastoral Letter.

Shrewsbury is leading the way and I`m sure bishop Davies will be glad of prayers!

News from FSSP England

Our most important event:


of newly ordained English priest Fr Matthew McCarthy, FSSP:

Saturday 28 May 2011 in London, 3pm!

(read 1-page Pdf here).

Please come, please support, please attend this most significant event: allegedly the first English priest ordained since the Instruction Universae Ecclesiae and the only one ordained according to the EF of the Roman rite this year!

ALL FAITHFUL and CLERGY WELCOME! Meet us directly in London

[or else travel in our coach from Reading for: suggested =£7.90 per person return: Reading-London Spanish Place-Reading. If you cannot pay, please give what you can – at least one Hail Mary. The coach is booked and sponsored by FSSP England: any empty seat (out of 57) will simply be money wasted. Of course you can park your vehicle on St William of York Church’s car park during that day and take it back as we arrive back from London. Please book now with Lauren or (0)783 4972 173.]

ALL faithful and clergy cordially invited.

On the occasion of the First Solemn High Mass of our newly ordained English priest Fr Matthew McCarthy, FSSP.

It is very important to show support, especially as there are so few priests ordained in England, let alone in the EF form. About 10 FSSP clergy will attend.

Optional Schedule:

9am: Departure from St William of York, Reading, in hired coach

10.15am: Arrival at St James’ Church (‘Spanish Place’, 22 George Street, London W1U 3QY)

10.30am: optional art tour at the Wallace Collection by Fr de Malleray (conveniently located across the street from St James’ Church) – or free time

12noon: prayer at the Tyburn Tree near Marble Arch (12mn walk from St James’ Church) and visit of the Martyrs’ Crypt in nearby Tyburn Convent

12.30pm: community picnic lunch in Hyde Park (please bring packed lunch) and free time

2.30pm: Confessions at St James Church

3pm: Beginning of newly ordained English FSSP priest Rev Fr Matthew McCarthy’s First Solemn High Mass – ‘Mass for three voices’ by William Byrd

4.30pm: First Blessings and Refreshments offered in Basement

Please come, please support, please attend this most significant event!

Rev. Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP

St John Fisher House, 17 Eastern Avenue,

Reading, RG1 5RU, England

Tel: 0118 966 5284; Email:

Web:; International:; Youths:

St John Fisher House is the residence of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter in England, a Catholic international priestly society canonically established in the diocese of Portsmouth, and a registered charity: number 1129964.

Support: all donations kindly to be sent to our address above - cheques to be made payable to FSSP ENGLAND. Gift-aid receipt on request.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

More on Santa Croce

The Guardian had this to add:

It sounds like something out of Father Ted: a renowned monastery in Rome where monks staged concerts featuring a lap-dancer-turned-nun and opened a hotel with a 24-hour limousine service has been shut down by the pope.

As part of Benedict XVI's crackdown on "loose living" within the Catholic church, 20 or so Cistercian monks are now being evicted from the monastery at the basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, which hosts some of the church's holiest relics.

"An inquiry found evidence of liturgical and financial irregularities as well as lifestyles that were probably not in keeping with that of a monk," said Father Ciro Benedettini, a Vatican spokesman. "The church remains open but the monks are awaiting transfer."

Reports saying the monks amassed large debts have also emerged, but Benedettini declined to give further details of the Vatican report, which was signed off in March.

The monks' days have been numbered since 2009, when the Vatican sacked their flamboyant abbot, Father Simone Fioraso, a former fashion designer who built up a cult following among Rome's fashionable aristocratic crowd as well as show business worshippers such as Madonna, who prayed at the church in 2008.

In 2009 Anna Nobili, a nightclub dancer who became a nun, was invited to perform her "holy dance" before an audience including archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Vatican's cultural department. For her performance Nobili, who says she uses dance as a form of prayer, lies spread-eagled in front of the altar clutching a crucifix or twists and turns as in pole-dancing routines.

I hope this is the start of a crackdown on the tedium of `liturgical dance`

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Santa Croce in Gerusalemme

A few days ago Rorate Caeli mentioned the suppression of the Cistercian monastery of Santa Croce in Rome and provided links to sites which spoke of ` liturgical abuses (documented by photos of nuns dancing around the altar), intrigue, rumours of questionable behavior and lack of moral discipline in the monastic community`.

Now AFP has taken up the story and has a report with a little more detail.

ROME — Pope Benedict XVI has shut down a famous community in Rome that organised dances by a former nightclub dancer nun and hosted VIPs like Madonna, earning the disfavour of the Vatican.

The closure of the monastery of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, which holds some of the Church's most prized relics, was reported by Italian dailies La Stampa and Il Foglio.

The reports said the community of Cistercian monks based at the church for more than five centuries was being transferred to other churches in Italy.

Contacted by AFP, the Vatican did not deny the reports.

The basilica had become a hub for the "Friends of Santa Croce", an aristocratic group, and had been criticised for some unorthodox practices including dances in which nuns pranced around the altar.

One of the nuns who performed at the church, a former disco dancer, can be seen in a YouTube video performing a modern dance with a crucifix.

The basilica's longtime abbot, Simone Fioraso, a flamboyant former Milan fashion designer, was already moved out of the basilica two years ago.

The ban was adopted in March by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life following an inquiry but has not yet been made public, the reports said.

Pope Benedict, the leader of the world's 1.1 billion Catholics, is also the bishop of Rome, so the basilica is part of his diocese.

Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, built around a chapel dating to the fourth century, is one of Rome's oldest and most prestigious churches.

Can`t find the video of a nun dancing rouond the altar but the church does seem to have featured in a lot of televised concerts of religious music. Here`s one:

It will be very interesting to see who takes over the monastery.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fr McCarthy`s first Mass

Photos courtesy of Leo Darroch of the first Mass of Fr McCarthy of the FSSP. Leo writes:

Fr McCarthy's first Mass.......was celebrated at the Carmel, Valparaiso, about half an hour drive from Denton. This beautiful Carmel was founded only a few years ago and is full. They have had to open another Carmel because of increasing numbers. The nuns are served by the priests of the FSSP and both sides are very happy with the arrangement. The altar was salvaged from a hospital chapel that was to be demolished

Finally a number plate seen in the car park at the Carmel!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

549 photos

L`Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper has 549 photos of last Sunday`s Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the altar of the chair in St Peter`s on its website! You can find them here. Thanks to MiL for the link.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Continuing the seminary theme...

Tonight I was sent some photos by Una Voce chairman Leo Darroch. He is at the FSSP ordinations at Denton, Nebraska. One of the two ordained is the Rev Matthew McCarthy who comes from Wigan. Congratulations to Fr McCarthy and to his fellow new priest Fr Pelster from Oregon. Ad multos annos!

It all looks rather different from the sad state of things at dear old Ushaw. It was a shame that Universae Ecclesiae was not more prescriptive on teaching the Extraordinary Form in all seminaries and that archbishop Nichols was rather dismissive of the idea that it should happen but then the same paragraph does say that bishops are strongly requested (enixe rogantur) to offer all clerics the chance to learn the Extraordinary Form ( n.21) so I look forward to hearing how this provision will be met!

Ushaw Junior House Pictures

UPDATE 22.5.11

John has asked me to remove the pictures as the seminary are worried about people seeing them and encouraging them to break in and commit further vandalism. I`ve left the last one, which seems safe enough, of the seminarians. I notice also that the pictures have gone from the urbexforums website too.

I was away last week at the Canon Law Society conference in Harrogate: more on that later. While I was away I received an email from John Bagnall of Ushaw. The remaining Ushaw seminarians have been taken on a tour of the boarded up Junior House. John took a few photos and sent me them to share as a change from links to photos taken by groups who are interested in derelict buildings. So here we are. Just one comment: the statue of Our Lady looks a bit cleaner than in recent photos. I hope someone can find it a good home.

I assume the last picture is of the surviving seminarians. The only person I recognise is one of our permanent deacons who teaches there. Another is, I think, a woman. It is somewhat sad that with only about a month to go nothing has been heard about the future of this irreplaceable part of our Catholic heritage.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cardinal Koch and the new liturgical reform

This account from CNS of Cardinal Koch`s talk at the weekend at the Summorum Pontificum conference appeared today and makes interesting reading:

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI's easing of restrictions on use of the 1962 Roman Missal, known as the Tridentine rite, is just the first step in a "reform of the reform" in liturgy, the Vatican's top ecumenist said.

The pope's long-term aim is not simply to allow the old and new rites to coexist, but to move toward a "common rite" that is shaped by the mutual enrichment of the two Mass forms, Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said May 14.

In effect, the pope is launching a new liturgical reform movement, the cardinal said. Those who resist it, including "rigid" progressives, mistakenly view the Second Vatican Council as a rupture with the church's liturgical tradition, he said.

Cardinal Koch made the remarks at a Rome conference on "Summorum Pontificum," Pope Benedict's 2007 apostolic letter that offered wider latitude for use of the Tridentine rite. The cardinal's text was published the same day by L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.

Cardinal Koch said Pope Benedict thinks the post-Vatican II liturgical changes have brought "many positive fruits" but also problems, including a focus on purely practical matters and a neglect of the paschal mystery in the Eucharistic celebration. The cardinal said it was legitimate to ask whether liturgical innovators had intentionally gone beyond the council's stated intentions.

He said this explains why Pope Benedict has introduced a new reform movement, beginning with "Summorum Pontificum." The aim, he said, is to revisit Vatican II's teachings in liturgy and strengthen certain elements, including the Christological and sacrificial dimensions of the Mass.

Cardinal Koch said "Summorum Pontificum" is "only the beginning of this new liturgical movement."

"In fact, Pope Benedict knows well that, in the long term, we cannot stop at a coexistence between the ordinary form and the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, but that in the future the church naturally will once again need a common rite," he said.

"However, because a new liturgical reform cannot be decided theoretically, but requires a process of growth and purification, the pope for the moment is underlining above all that the two forms of the Roman rite can and should enrich each other," he said.

Cardinal Koch said those who oppose this new reform movement and see it as a step back from Vatican II lack a proper understanding of the post-Vatican II liturgical changes. As the pope has emphasized, Vatican II was not a break or rupture with tradition but part of an organic process of growth, he said.

Vocations Sunday

I hear that the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter are building thirty new rooms for their seminary at Wigratzbad in Bavaria. Meanwhile we await the news as to what will become of the buildings at Ushaw which is due to close its doors next month.

In this month`s Northern Cross there is a letter from Fr Gary Dickson on the question of priestly identity. I reproduce it here with Father`s permission:

I rely heavily upon laity undertaking Catechesis, Baptism Preparation, Accounts, Health & Safety, Pastoral Planning via the Pastoral Council etc., and hoped to see Deaneries co-operating by each parish taking responsibility for one such task (presuming the laity engaged were formed in the Catechism rather than theological opinion of dubious merit). Sadly, by forming clergy as coordinators of such lay engagement, we failed to promote a right understanding of presbyters as sacrificing priests who teach, sanctify and govern in the person of Christ and fellow workers with the Order of Bishops as taught by Vatican II’s Presbyterorum Ordinis, and a right understanding of the laity with their authentic, irreplaceable vocation of mission in the world as taught by Vatican II’s Apostolicam Actuositatem. We therefore all but eliminated the splendour of the priesthood as well as the striking apostolic witness of the Legion of Mary in their door-to-door evangelisation and the inspiring active charity of SVP. These failed to attract because they were not ‘power-sharing’. Now, and unsurprisingly, seminaries are closing –after all, why spend one’s life as a celibate facilitator (priest) when one can be married and a community (lay) ‘leader’?

Of particular concern is the idea that we must retain parishes without a resident priest as ‘Eucharistic communities’ by promoting lay-led Services of the Word with Distribution of Holy Communion. This implies the community is more important than the Eucharistic Action, yet the community springs from that Action as the source and summit of all that we are, so it is essential to be part of that Action rather than simply hear the word and receive Holy Communion –which does not, in fact, fulfil our Sunday Obligation. Perhaps we need to amalgamate parishes to help re-dignify the lay and priestly vocations –and restore the Mass to central importance.

Fr G Dickson

It does bother me that we are told as priests that we should be delegating all we can to lay people. It seems to deny the priest a pastoral role except as a sacrament machine. And what does the priest do when he has delegated all responsibility for the pastoral and financial life of the parish to committees? Parish councils occasionally pop up who have the idea that they have an executive role whereas it is very clear in the church`s law a parish council exists to advise the priest.

LMS news

Three items from the LMS


The Latin Mass Society has welcomed unequivocally the publication by the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’ of its Instruction on the application of the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio, ‘Summorum Pontificum’.

The Instruction is a resounding justification for the work of the LMS and other adherents of the Extraordinary Form in insisting on their right to the Traditional Liturgy and Sacraments of the Church. There are many bishops and priests who should feel chastened for the way they have treated those attached to the Extraordinary Form over the years – as the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger once wrote, they were treated as “lepers”.

However, ‘Summorum Pontificum’ establishes a new and authoritative basis for the reintroduction of the Extraordinary Form into the heart of the Church and the LMS is determined to look forward rather than back.

Just as with ‘Summorum Pontificum’ there is a great deal in the new Instruction which will be teased out with time. And here the LMS notes that the authoritative Latin text of the Instruction is, in crucial areas, more strongly worded than the unofficial English translation.

The LMS draws attention to these selected points:

*The Instruction stresses that ‘Summorum Pontificum’ is the universal law of the Church and cannot be ignored (Art. 2).

*The Instruction confirms that the Extraordinary Form is not a poor relation of the Ordinary Form but is an “expression of the same lex orandi of the Church” “alongside” the ordinary form (Art. 6).

*’Summorum Pontificum’ is “an important expression of the Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff and of his munus for regulating...the Church’s Sacred Liturgy” and offers “to all the faithful” [LMS emphasis] the use of the Extraordinary Form, “effectively guaranteeing...the use of the forma extraordinaria for all who ask for it” (Art. 8), i.e. this is not just for the elderly or those previously attached to the Society of St Pius X.

*The Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’ now exercises the power “as hierarchical superior” to decide upon complaints referred to it regarding any “administrative provision of an Ordinary which appears to be contrary to the Motu Proprio” subject to final appeal to the Apostolic Signatura (Art. 10. 1).

*“It is the task of the Diocesan Bishop to undertake all necessary measures to ensure respect for the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite, according to the Motu Proprio, ‘Summorum Pontificum’” (Art. 14).

*A stable group of the faithful who request use of the Extraordinary Form is simply constituted by “some people” who come together and can “be composed of persons coming from different parishes or dioceses” (Art. 15).

*Priests are to be considered “qualified” to offer the Traditional Mass if they have a “basic knowledge” of Latin “and have celebrated it previously”. Among others this would refer to priests who have taught themselves the Old Rite and celebrated it privately or, for example, have learned it at an LMS training course (Art. 20).

*Ordinaries are to offer their clergy training in the Extraordinary Form and are also urged to provide training in the seminaries (Art. 21).

*Dioceses without qualified priests should ask the Traditional Orders such as the Fraternity of St Peter to provide priests or training for diocesan priests (Art. 22).

*The particular law and customs of the 1962 books are protected from subsequent law and therefore such practices as Communion in the hand, Communion under both kinds and female altar servers are not permissible in the Extraordinary Form [LMS emphasis] (Art. 28).

*The Sacred Triduum can be celebrated in the Extraordinary Form and where necessary these celebrations can take place in churches where the Sacred Triduum in the ordinary form is also celebrated (Art. 33).

*Individuals of the religious Orders may use the Order’s liturgical books in effect in 1962 (Art. 34).

Doctor Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the LMS, said “This is a wonderful day for the Church. With this Instruction, the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’ has confirmed what we all knew – that ‘Summorum Pontificum’ is a gift to the whole Church designed to end the ‘liturgy wars’ and establish the full membership of the Extraordinary Form in the family of rites. The LMS will be urging its diocesan representatives to liaise with the diocesan bishops to maximise the reintroduction of the Old Rite in their dioceses. We will also keep records of any problems so that recourse may be made to the disciplinary function of Ecclesia Dei if necessary. There is a tremendous task to be carried out to improve the standard of liturgy in England and Wales and the LMS pledges its full cooperation in this cause so close to Pope Benedict’s heart”.

. . . . ENDS . . . .

For further information, please contact John Medlin, Publicist, or Michael Lord, General Manager, on (T) 020 7404 7284; (F) 020 7831 5585; (E mail)

THE LMS’s Seventh Training Conference for Priests and Servers Successfully Concluded

Over thirty clerics and laymen attended the Latin Mass Society’s seventh residential training conference for the training of priests in the Traditional or Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. This conference took place from Tuesday 3 May to Friday 6 May at Buckfast Abbey in Devon, courtesy of Abbot David Charlesworth and the Benedictine community.

The programme, as in recent conferences, also provided for the training of altar servers. Fifteen servers were trained. This included a number of young men, three of whom are discerning vocations to the priesthood.

The twelve priests came from across the UK: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were all represented. Two of the priests were Polish and one was an Army chaplain who has recently seen active service in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Training was given at various levels under the leadership of Fr Andrew Southwell, National Chaplain to the LMS. There was basic instruction (including Latin pronunciation where required), through to intermediate training culminating in instruction in the celebration of High Mass.

The servers followed a similar progression, learning to assist at celebrations up to High Mass.

Each day sung Mass was celebrated in the abbey church and the quality of the polyphonic singing and Latin plain chant was outstanding. The choir and schola were led by Michael Vian Clark. Abbot David Charlesworth presided in choir at the closing Votive Mass of the Holy Cross on the Friday and led the veneration of the Relic of the True Cross.

As usual at LMS conferences, the food and accommodation were appreciated for their high quality throughout.

The LMS would like to express its profound gratitude for the welcome and ready assistance given by the monks at Buckfast Abbey.

Pictures of the Buckfast conference are available from the LMS website here:

The next training programme, the eighth, will be a one-day event on Tuesday 23 August at Holy Cross Priory, Leicester. This will be for priests and servers wishing to study the rubrics of the Mass in its Solemn Form and who are already familiar with Low Mass. The day will start at 9.30 am and finishing around 5.00 pm. The fee for attending will be £5.00. For further details or to register, contact the LMS office on 020 7404 7284 or email

. . . . ENDS . . . .

For further information, please contact John Medlin, Publicist, or Michael Lord, General Manager, on (T) 020 7404 7284; (F) 020 7831 5585; (E mail)


Editor of Mass of Ages magazine

The Latin Mass Society is seeking a new editor for Mass of Ages, its quarterly magazine.

This is a time of important change at the LMS in which the magazine will play a major role. The magazine will be relaunched in the autumn in full colour throughout, with a new look and new production methods.

The vacancy is part-time and might suit a freelance journalist. A deep and sympathetic knowledge of the Traditional Catholic world is essential. It is hoped the post will commence in August.

For more information, including a job description and salary details, contact Michael Lord, General Manager of the LMS, on:

or telephone him on 020 7404 7284.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Today in Rome

I found this most moving. Thanks to John Sonnen for providing it. It made me wonder why I wasn`t there. I recognised a few in the procession. There is Fr Stephen Dunn who I met at the LMS Ushaw training weeks. He has been in the news recently and is certainly an impressive and courageous priest. I see Julian Chadwick (not Matthew Festing!) ex-LMS chairman and member of the Order of Malta too. Also I recognise Fr Mark Withoos of the Ecclesia Dei Commission who lived for a number of years in this diocese while studying at Durham university.

I would have loved to have been at this very significant event. You may recall that the last time there was a Pontifical EF Mass in the Blessed Sacrament chapel in St Peter`s which those who have seen it will know is almost completely invisible from the nave. Thus it is progress to be at the altar of the chair. How sad that the original altar was destroyed a number of years back in the interest of liturgical renewal but I suppose it means that St Peter`s basilica is in the same boat many of us find ourselves, using a free-standing altar designed for Mass facing the people!

However last year I went to Rome three times, all work-related events and so I decided to stay away from Rome for a while and see somewhere else. If there is a Mass in St Peter`s again then I hope to be there. Let`s hope by then it may be considered appropriate for Mass to be celebrated coram Summo Pontifice.Link

Friday, May 13, 2011

Universae Ecclesiae

I am very pleased with the instruction issued today on the implementation of Summorum Pontificum. The fears that it may have sought to restrict the use of the traditional Mass were unfounded. Nothing about the Ambrosian or Mozarabic rites but green light for religious to use their traditional missals. It is rather disappointing but you can read the reaction of the English bishops as voiced by archbishop Nichols here. Good to hear that they have noticed the absurdity of Ascension Sunday and the destruction of the twelve days of Christmas and we may see sanity restored. Friday abstinence will be restored from September 16th too.

Next week Cardinal Raymond Burke of the Apostolic Signatura comes to England, to Harrogate in particular, for the Canon Law Society annual conference. It will be interesting to hear his opinion on the new document if the opportunity arises.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

If you don`t watch Gloria TV news every day.. really should. At the risk of probably exceeding my all time record by producing five posts in a day here is today`s edition:

Gloria TV is here.

Friday 13th

Unlucky for some??

Still trying to understand what a `no hitter` is.

Removing a bishop

The Catholic News Agency has an interesting article on the removal of bishop Morris of Toowoomba, Australia, (announced on May 2nd). Rather than an out of the blue decision the new information reveals how the Vatican was engaged in a long process to try to get bishop Morris to correct abuses in theology and liturgy before finally resorting to removing him as bishop. Here is the process as outlined on the CNA site:

Feb. 1993: On Feb. 10, Bishop Morris is installed at Toowoomba’s St. Patrick's Cathedral. He immediately introduced dramatic changes in the liturgy and government of the Church. According to the consultors’ document, he also “broke with tradition and wore a tie, embroidered with his coat of arms, rather than the Roman Collar.” The consultors added: “The Bishop offered each priest a black tie with the Diocesan Arms and indicated that the wearing of the tie was to be considered clerical dress, along with the collar and the white shirt with crosses, the choice being left to the individual cleric.”

1993-2005: A group of concerned Catholics, described in the report as “a small but vocal minority,” launched “a growing campaign of letters of complaint” to Vatican offices in Rome. The complaints centered on Bishop Morris’ promotion of “general absolution” as an alternative to personal confession of sins. His promotion of this practice continued, despite several calls from the Vatican to stop it. According to the consultors: “The issue of the use of general absolution led to a dispute between the bishop and Cardinal (Francis) Arinze, prefect of the (Vatican’s) Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship. Some of this dispute took on a personal aspect.”

Nov. 2006: Bishop Morris releases his now infamous Advent pastoral letter. In it, he proposes the need to explore the ordination of married men, women and the recognition of the ordained ministries of other Christian churches. His letter was widely perceived in Church circles as a flagrant rejection of Pope John Paul II’s 1994 official declaration (“Ordinatio Sacerdotalis”) that the Church cannot ordain women and his 1998 decree (“Ad Tuendam Fidem”) that discussion of ordaining women can be punished under canon law.

Dec. 2006: Bishop Morris receives a fax requesting that he come to Rome by Feb. 2007 for meetings with Cardinals Giovanni Battista Re, then head of the Vatican’s Congregation of Bishops, William Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Cardinal Arinze. Bishop Morris rejected the meeting, citing “pastoral reasons” that he declined to specify. He said he had plans to come to Rome in May 2007 and expressed his willingness to meet with the cardinals at that time.

Jan. 2007: Cardinal Arinze sends a letter insisting that the matter is urgent and that Bishop Morris should present himself in Rome in February. Bishop Morris again dismissed the request, insisting he would be available in May but not before.

March 2007: Bishop Morris receives notification that the Congregation of Bishops had begun an investigation, known as an “apostolic visitation.” The apostolic visitator is said to be American Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap, of Denver.

April 2007: Archbishop Chaput arrives in Toowoomba for the apostolic visitation on April 23. The consultors’ report states: “The Visitor arrived in Toowoomba, met informally with Bishop Morris, then met with the Council of Priests. He then began a series of meetings with various diocesan bodies, officials, priests, directors of agencies and people of the diocese. ... There was a cross-section of people and clergy of the diocese representing all levels of support and opposition to the Bishop. On Wed. and Thurs. (April 25-26) he traveled around the diocese and conducted interviews. The interviews resumed in Toowoomba on Fri. and Sat. morning (April 27-28). After a final interview with the Bishop on Saturday midday, the Visitor departed and prepared his report.”

May 2007: Diocesan leaders meet to discuss the Visitation and how they should respond. According to the report, “the clergy and pastoral leaders of the diocese” decided to send a letter to the Vatican in support of Bishop Morris. Three priests refused to sign the letter. Meanwhile Bishop Morris in Rome as he had previously announced. The report states: “No meeting with the cardinals took place.”

Sept. 2007: The Vatican’s Congregation of Bishops sends Bishop Morris a memo dated June 28 requesting him to resign. The bishop responds by indicating he will reply after his October holiday.

Oct. 2007: The bishops’ congregation sends another letter, this time informing Bishop Morris that the request for his resignation is being made in the name of Pope Benedict XVI.

Nov. 2007: Bishop Morris sends a letter to Cardinal Re, head of the bishops’ congregation, offering “collaboration and dialogue.” He requested a meeting in Rome in Jan. 2008. Cardinal Re responds by setting Jan. 19, 2008 as the date for the meeting.

Dec. 2007: Bishop Morris convenes an advisory group to collect suggestions on how to deal with the Vatican. According to the consultors’ report: “The advisory group consulted international canonists.”

Jan. 2008: On Jan. 19, as scheduled Bishop Morris meets in Rome with the three cardinals, representing the Vatican’s offices for bishops, doctrine, and worship. They stress that the Pope himself has requested that Bishop Morris resign. On Jan. 24, Bishop Morris writes to the cardinals, telling them that he feels he is unable to resign.

Feb. 2008: Cardinal Re replies to Bishop Morris’ Jan. 24 letter. He again calls on Bishop Morris to resign. Bishop Morris responds by convening his advisory group. They help the bishop to prepare a "Statement of Position" to respond to the Vatican’s criticisms and request for his resignation.

March 2008: Bishop Morris forwards his "Statement of Position" to the Cardinals Re, Arinze and Levada. He sends a letter to the Vatican’s Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Church’s highest judicial authority apart from the Pope. Bishop Morris requests that the Apostolic Signature give him the right to defend himself on the charges against him. He writes a further letter to the Pontifical Council of Legislative Texts asking for a definition of what constitutes "grave cause" for removing a bishop under Church law (Canon 401, sec. 2).

April 2008: The Apostolic Signatura replies, informing Bishop Morris that his case is not of its competence because no Church legal proceedings had taken place.

Sept. 2008: The Pontifical Council of Legislative Texts replies saying that the interpretation of "grave cause" is left to the determination of the Congregation of Bishops.

Oct. 2008: Cardinal Re sends a letter demanding that Bishop Morris resign by Nov. 2008 or face being removed.

Dec. 2008-March 2009: On Dec. 19, Bishop Morris writes to Cardinal Re stating he will not resign. On Dec. 24, he writes separately to Pope Benedict XVI requesting an audience. The bishop later receives confirmation that he will be received by the Pope on June 4, 2009.

June 2009: On June 4, Bishop Morris meets the Pope. He is accompanied by Archbishop Phillip Wilson, head of the Australian bishops’ conference. The Pope reiterates his demand that the Bishop resign. The Bishop does not respond. According to the consultors’ report: “The bishop left the meeting saying to Archbishop Wilson that he had no intention of resigning as Bishop of Toowoomba.”

July 2009: Cardinal Re sends another letter requesting that the Bishop submit his resignation.

Nov. 2009: Bishop Morris writes to the Pope saying that, as a matter of conscience, he will not resign.

Dec. 2009: In a letter dated Dec. 22, Pope Benedict replies to Bishop Morris. He reminds the bishop that there is no appealing of papal decisions. The consultors’ report: “The Pope repeated the serious concerns he had with Bishop Morris’ position on the ordination of women and recognition of the orders (clergy) of Anglicans and other churches.”

Jan. 2010: Archbishop Wilson brings to Rome a proposal from Morris to retire when he turns 70, in October 2013.

Feb. 2010: Cardinal Re writes Bishop Morris saying the Pope has accepted to wait until May 2011 for his resignation.

Dec. 2010: Bishop Morris writes to the Pope. He requests to remain in office beyond the agreed upon May 2011 date in order to deal with a case of alleged sexual abuse by a former teacher at a Catholic school in Toowoomba.

Feb. 2011: Archbishop Guiseppe Lazzarotto, the Apostolic Nuncio or papal representative to Australia, writes Bishop Morris requesting his immediate resignation. The nuncio informs Bishop Morris that the Vatican will announce his resignation May 2.

March 2011: Bishop Morris writes to the Apostolic Nuncio. He insists that he will not resign, but that he will accept the Vatican announcing on May 2 his "early retirement."

April 2011: Bishop Morris convenes his college of consultors. The group unanimously supports his decision to issue a pastoral letter so that “the diocese would first hear the news from the bishop and not from the media,” according to the report. Claiming his innocence and decrying the Vatican for denying him "natural justice." On April 27 Bishop Morris sends his announcement to the priests of the diocese. He includes a pastoral letter to be read at all Masses on the weekend of April 30-May 1.

May 2011: The Vatican announces the removal of Bishop Morris from his office. According to a statement issued May 2 through the Vatican Information Service: “The Holy Father removed Bishop William M. Morris from the pastoral care of the diocese of Toowoomba, Australia.”

On May 5, priests and pastoral leaders are summoned to an invitation-only meeting at St. Patrick's Cathedral to decide how to express further support to Bishop Morris. It is decided that parishes will count attendees at all Masses to register any possible decline. Also, books will be placed for people to write messages of support to Bishop Morris.

In addition, "professional care and support" is offered "for priests and people who may be deeply troubled by these developments and may be deeply grieving Bishop Morris' removal."

Pictures of Catholic Poland

Today I came across the Te igitur blog which does for Poland and Krakow what John Sonnen does for Rome. I particularly enjoyed the post on altar transformation.

From this
To this!

Paul Inwood`s list

On June 4th our diocese is having a day to look at music for the texts of the new translation. I was glad when I heard this. There are some very encouraging new settings available on the internet. Our day is going to be led by Paul Inwood, music director for Portsmouth diocese and well-known for his music already used in the OF Mass in this country.

On the Pray Tell blog, Paul has recently been outlining some of the abuses which currently occur in this country which may become accepted practices. Here is his list:

(1) Ministers of Communion receiving at the end of the distribution, not at the beginning of it.
(2) More controversially, and perhaps further down the line, the presiding priest receiving last of all.
(3) Rites of Gathering in which, following the implications of paragraph 44 of Music in Catholic Worship (1972), only an opening song and an opening prayer are used, all else being omitted.
(4) Simplification/elimination of the prayers following the presentation of the gifts.
(5) Receiving Communion on Good Friday being made optional or discontinued altogether (and cf. Kenneth Stevenson, Jerusalem Revisited, p. 66ff).
(6) An Easter Vigil where the fire is blessed, readings are read by firelight, and the service of light is associated with the Resurrection Gospel, the Gloria being omitted altogether (and cf. Stevenson, p. 89).
(7) The Penitential Rite at Mass moved so as to follow the Liturgy of the Word (as on Ash Wednesday, for example).

(8) The Sign of Peace moved to before the presentation of the gifts, preferably following a Penitential Rite which has also moved there.

(9) Use of semi-leavened bread (e.g. pitta bread) instead of unleavened bread.
(10) Use of totally gluten-free altar breads as well as low-gluten.
(11) Anyone who wishes having their feet washed and washing others’ feet on Holy Thursday evening.
(12) Deacons remaining standing throughout the Eucharistic Prayer.
(13) Deacons extending hands to the assembly at the greeting “The Lord be with you” instead of keeping their hands joined.
(14) Priests (!) extending hands to the assembly at the greeting “The Lord be with you” instead of keeping their hands joined.

Well, I`m happy with no 14 ( I thought that was meant to happen already) but the rest seem to me to make the Roman rite almost unrecognisable. This is in the context of a discussion of how liturgical abuses have become accepted practice and later legitimised (e.g. Communion in the hand, altar girls etc). Given the way these practices which started as abuses have become recognised I can see why it might be thought this is the way to make further changes for those who think they are desirable.

However it does strike me as rather out of keeping with the spirit of the new translation! Redemptionis Sacramentum has already reprobated many of these customs. Paul tells us that he is only talking about things that are already happening and does not say whether he himself approves of these them, which makes it seem that RS is not being applied as carefully as might be hoped.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The new Missal

Thanks to the NLM for drawing attention to this CTS video about the new missal. While I`m not expecting the introduction of the new translation of the OF to bring about instant liturgical bliss I certainly warm to features of this missal. The colour illustrations are a welcome change and it is interesting to hear that they were added at the request of the bishops` conferences. Clearly the effort has been made to ensure that this missal is a thing of beauty. This in itself runs against the grain of much that we have been given over the last few decades (my 1962 altar missal is a rather disappointing affair compared to the 1959 one I have: I suppose they thought in 1962 that it might only be a temporary edition) and I hope will change the atmosphere surrounding the Mass. I got my order form yesterday from the CTS and will be sending it off today.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Forthcoming FSSP events

The FSSP has a couple of events coming up which may be of interest to blog readers:

5th Vocation discernment weekend, at St John Fisher House in Reading on 22-23-24 July 2011:

For Catholic men between 18 and 35 years of age (under 18 please contact us).

Starts on Friday 22nd July 2011 at 6pm – ends on Sunday 24th July 2011 mid-afternoon. Led by Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP.

Location: St John Fisher House is the residence of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter in England & Wales. Bishop Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth has allowed for its canonical establishment in Reading on 1st August 2010.

Address: 17, Eastern Avenue, Reading, RG1 5RU, England.

Access: 27mn from London Paddington by direct trains up to every 10mn, and from London Waterloo. Direct trains from Oxford, Bournemouth, Bristol, Newcastle, York, Birmingham, Gatwick Airport, Southampton Airport, etc. Direct ‘RailAir’ buses from Heathrow to Reading train station every 20mn. Motorway: M4.

Limited overnight accommodation: please book now.

Locate us on a map here.

Programme: Spiritual conferences, socials, Holy Mass each of the three days (Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite), silent prayer, private talk with Fr de Malleray, FSSP. Fr de Malleray will explain what a vocation is in general and to the priesthood in particular. Read here the Holy Father’s recent Letter to seminarians. Extract: “The proper celebration of the Eucharist involves knowing, understanding and loving the Church’s liturgy in its concrete form. In the liturgy we pray with the faithful of every age – the past, the present and the future are joined in one great chorus of prayer. As I can state from personal experience, it is inspiring to learn how it all developed, what a great experience of faith is reflected in the structure of the Mass, and how it has been shaped by the prayer of many generations.”

Cost: no set price for students or unemployed – any donation welcome; others: £50 suggested.

New: our special Vocations flyer and videos on

Vocation Discernment day for young ladies: at St John Fisher House in Reading on Saturday 16th July 2011, from 10am to 4pm (includes Low Mass at 11am):

For Catholic young ladies from 12 to 30 years of age. Fr de Malleray will explain what is a religious vocation and how to follow it. Please bring packed lunch. Booking required.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


Ignis Ardens is a British forum for those interested in the work of the SSPX. I regularly look in to see what is going on. Normally the topic which by far excites the most comments is the issue of whether it is ever legitimate for women to wear trousers. I wonder whether women wearing trousers was discussed at the talks between the SSPX and the Vatican? It is clearly a topic never far from the minds of those involved with the SSPX. A recent close second has been whether it is OK for men to push prams? You could even debate over whether Jesus was a Jew!

In the last few months there was also a special thread devoted to something called Krahgate. This seemed to arouse quite a lot of comments too. I could never be bothered to read through it all to find out what it was all about. From what I can understand a man called Krah has been employed by bishop Fellay as a legal and financial advisor and a number of SSPXers weren`t happy about this. From what I can glean Mr Krah enjoys the music of the American singer Madonna who was rumoured to have recently fallen out with the Kaballah group she was involved with and has been talking to Opus Dei priests in London with a view to finding out more: Dan Brown has if nothing else raised the profile of Opus Dei! (H/T The Eponymous Flower) UPDATE 10.40pm: Tancred in the combox says this is not true

However the SSPX HQ has taken exception to the unfavourable comments about Krah and has threatened Ignis Ardens with legal action. Fr Paul Morgan the UK superior wrote:


The Ignis Ardens website states that 'it is a Traditionalist Catholic forum with a pro-SSPX bias... but that 'this forum's support for SSPX is not to be taken as evidence of the SSPX's support for this forum.'

The latter part of this statement is certainly true with regard to Ignis Ardens' involvement to date in a campaign which undermines the authority of the Society's General House.

I refer to the section entitled 'Krahgate,' which, under the cover of anonymity, raises serious allegations against Menzingen's lawyer, Maximilian Krah, and, by extension, against the Superior General himself.

Whilst this file, which apparently originated elsewhere, was recently removed at the initiative of the Ignis Ardens moderator, the damage caused will be much more difficult to repair given the public nature of the internet and the propensity for calumny and detraction to spread.

In this regard Bishop Fellay does not exclude having recourse to judicial process, and this should serve a warning to those who think they can commit public slander via the internet with impunity.

Father Paul Morgan.

All by way of saying that while it is hard being on the EF side of things in the mainstream Catholic church, it`s not all plain sailing in the SSPX either....

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Off to the mosque?

The May Northern Cross has not yet arrived in these parts. I saw the copies of the May edition at St Robert`s, Morpeth last Thursday but when our parishioner went to St Dominic`s, Newcastle to pick up our consignment on Saturday there was nothing there. So in the meantime I had said I thought there were a few things worthy of comment so here is a comment. Without getting into the big controversy over whether the diocesan Youth Village is worth the money (and I see that correspondence is now closed although I thought Mr Rainbow`s letter in the April edition was very well argued) I just thought I`d pick up on the short letter from Gerry Loughran of Jesmond who says regarding the new translation of the Ordinary Form of the Mass:

I promise that I will approach it with all goodwill but I have to say this: if the word CONSUBSTANTIAL is there, I`m off to the mosque.

Well the bad news for Mr Loughran as I`m sure he has by now discovered is that the word consubstantial is indeed part of the new translation. However here is more bad news. If he goes to the mosque he may find he has a few more problems than trying to wrestle with consubstantial. I wonder how his Arabic is? When I was at St Andrews university in our second year we had to take one first year course and I opted for Arabic language. It was absolutely fascinating and I`d wished I`d taken it in my first year so I could have continued with it in third and fourth year. We were mainly taught by the memorable Dr Jackson, except on Fridays when the professor would come and test us on our verb tables. Sadly all I can remember of it now is the alphabet. However I also remember being told that we had to learn Arabic because if we didn`t we would have a difficult time in heaven as that was the only language spoken there. I still have my text books so if Mr Loughran is determined that he can`t cope with consubstantial I am willing to lend them to him so he can enjoy full and active participation on his Fridays at the mosque.