30 September 2014
The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales has often been referred to as a Magic Circle, a name taken from the association of magicians who share the secrets of their tricks with each other, whilst agreeing not to disclose them with anyone outside the Circle. Until a few years ago, the Bishops Conference seemed very much like a Magic Circle that would only admit their closest friends and allies as members. That was until the appointment of Bishop Davies to the See of Shrewsbury in 2009. It soon became evident that Bishop Davies was capable of thinking for himself, and his decision to invite the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest to take care of the Dome of Home in the Wirrel was something of a watershed. The appointment of Bishop Egan to the See of Portsmouth in 2012 was another nail in the coffin for the Magic Circle. The retirement of several other bishops in quick succession, and their replacement by men with more open minds, continued the process. However, the scandal which has led to the resignation of the former Bishop Conry has put the Magic Circle beyond any possibility of revival. The only remaining founder member is Archbishop Nichols, and his authority is now severely curtailed. Instead, we have a much more varied selection of bishops, and this can only be good for the Church.
29 September 2014
A group from St Wilfrid's Church in York traveled to Preston on Saturday to attend the first Mass offered by the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest following their taking over responsibility for St Walburge's Church. I managed to squeeze seven people into my car, and at least another three traveled independently. There would have been another car traveling, had the driver not been unlucky enough to get a puncture the day before. The Mass was celebrated by Mgr Wach, Prior General of the Institute, in the presence of Bishop Michael Campbell, who also preached. I detected a great sincerity in the words of Bishop Campbell when he expressed his gratitude to the Institute form taking on the huge task of looking after so huge a church. He was clearly highly delighted that a way had been found to ensure that the church would continue to serve the people of Preston; but more importantly, he seemed excited by the idea that the church would be open every day of the week and that there would be several services each day. Several other blogs, including Gateshead Revisited have pictures, and have printed reports of the event. I suggest that readers who want to find out more go to these places.
26 September 2014
Rorate Caeli carries a report today about the Fraternity of St Peter establishing a permanent apostolate in Mexico City. Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrara has invited the Fraternity to offer daily Masses in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, which occupies a centeral position in Mexico City. It is a small chapel built in a traffic island in one of the main streets. Gradually churches and chapels devoted to offering the traditional Mass are appearing in many parts of the world. Preston in Lancashire is another example. Maybe one day there will be somewhere in the Diocese of Middlesbrough
25 September 2014
It has been announced that there will be a Pontifical High Mass at Norwich Cathedral at noon on Saturday 1st November, the Feast of All Saints. The celebrant will be the Ordinary of the Diocese of East Anglia, Bishop Alan Hopes. This is particularly pleasing news as the Latin Mass Society has been trying for years to get a Mass in the Cathedral of St John in Norwich. It is a very fine building and well suited for traditional ceremonies. Bishop Hopes has celebrated Mass in the usus antiquior on several occasions at Westminster Cathedral when he was Auxiliary in that diocese. So far as I recall, he will be the first diocesan bishop to celebrate an old rite Mass in his own cathedral in England and Wales for many decades.
16 September 2014
There will be a Solemn Mass in the usus antiquior at 6pm on Thursday 9th October at St St Wilfrid's Church in York to mark the feast day of Blessed John Henry Newman. The Fathers of the Oratory will be joined by Fr Stephen Brown of the Leeds Diocese to enable the celebration of a Solemn Mass. Further details will follow.
15 September 2014
A reminder that the Mass to mark the Institute of Christ the King taking over responsibility for St Walberge's Church in Preston is at noon on Saturday 27th September. A party will be travelling from the York area. Anyone who wants to go, but has not booked place should contact me in the next few days. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am conscious that the northern end of the diocese has been somewhat neglected in recent times. There is quite a lot of activity in York, and moves are afoot to generate some more activity in Hull. Redcar does have its regular Sunday Mass, but the congregation is relatively small. Since I live at the extreme southern end of the diocese, it is not possible for me to give much attention to the area around Middlesbrough, so I am looking for someone to take over responsibility for the section of the diocese north of the North Yorkshire Moors. Is anyone able to help? I can be contacted at email@example.com
13 September 2014
I have recently been told a story about a priest who likes think of himself as rather important in his diocese (Not Middlesbrough). He has been touring parishes of the diocese and holding meetings at which he promotes his ideas of how the Church can manage with fewer priests. Of course the ideas are not new - the talk was of the laity taking over various priestly roles and closing churches. When a questioner asked whether the Church should be doing more to promote vocations, he dismissed the idea saying that he did not see that as a way forward. Can you believe it?
At the invitation of Most Reverend Joseph Kopacz, Bishop of Jackson, the Society of St John Cantius held a training workshop earlier this month in Jackson for priests to learn to celebrate Mass in the older form. Several diocesan priests took part as well as a number of laymen who learned to serve. At the end of the course a Mass was celebrated in the usus antiquior in the Cathedral of St Peter in Jackson. This is yet another example of the way that American bishops are encouraging the reintroduction of the traditional Mass into normal diocesan life. It shows that the Church in the United States is moving faster to recover the traditions of the Church than is the case in England. It seems that in liturgical matters, as well as in other areas, the United States leads the way, and gives us an idea of how things will be in England in a few years time.
08 September 2014
It has been announced that the Marist Fathers will shortly be giving up the custody of the Catholic Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. This follows the appointment of Fr Alan Williams SM, the former Shrine Administrator, as Bishop of Brentwood. Although the Marists have appointed a temporary administrator for the shrine, it seems that the declining number of Marist priests has forced the order to hand over the care of the shrine. The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was very quick off the mark to put in its bid to become the new custodians, and and it would be difficult to think of another group that would be in a better position to take over. Certainly the Diocese of East Anglia is already severely stretched, and practically all other religious orders that might be considered eligible are suffering from a decline in the numbers of their priests................ It would be hard to think of anyone better than the Ordinariate to take over. Their special attachment to Our Lady of Walsingham is one good reason for them to take on the role. The fact that they have relatively large numbers of priests in relation to their pastoral commitments is another. However, the strongest reason must be their enthusiasm, and the vitality that they would bring to England's prime Marian shrine. Surely they are the best people for the job!
05 September 2014
Fr Simon Henry has posted a story on his blog, Offerimus Tibi Domine, about a Mass in the usus antiquior in the Seminary of St Joseph in Guadalajara in Mexico. This is said to be the largest seminary in the world and has 600 seminarians. Apparently the seminarians had asked their superiors for Mass to be offered in the seminary in the older form. This request was granted, and Fr Romanoski of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter offered the Mass on 2nd June. It was attended by 300 seminarians, which, judging by the photographs, is as many as the chapel can hold. So far, despite requests from seminarians, no traditional Mass has been allowed in a seminary under the control of the Bishops of England and Wales. In this respect, Mexico is ahead of England and Wales.
03 September 2014
The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has chosen Saturday 6th Sept as a day when it will be trying to increase public awareness of its existence. Under the slogan "Called to be One", it is staging events in about 40 locations in England, Wales and Scotland. Regrettably there is nothing that I am aware of in Yorkshire, so perhaps it is up to the diocesan Catholics in this part of the world to bang the drum.
01 September 2014
A reader by the name of Woodlawn has kindly provided some information about locations in the USA where Mass in the usus antiquior is offered daily. It is as follows: FSSP 38, SSPX 31, ICRSS 13, Other 24, Total 106 or 75 if SSPX is excluded. Other includes both Diocesan churches and chapels, and the houses of religious communities. In England and Wales, Daily Mass in the usus antiquior is only offered in a few locations. I can only think of Reading (FSSP), New Brighton (ICKSP), Brompton Oratory (Oratorians), St Dominic's Dursley (Diocesan), Clapham Park (Diocesan)and Leicester (Dominicans). Of course, Preston (ICKSP) will soon be added. This is another illustration of how much the traditional movement has advanced in America, compared with England and Wales.