Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Synod 2020. Number 22. Never give up!

Never give up!

We are in the process of sending in "PROPOSALS" for the first Synod theme "All called and gifted by God". Five from each parish. Despite much publicity and explaining here in my own parish we had only 15 proposals that came in. Unfortunately very few were actually proposals - more comments and concerns much like the "previous "listening" part of the process. Many also only related to this particular parish, rather than the diocese. I tried again the next week and received a few more but really with much the same in content. The concerns mostly focused around schools, young people and a dignified liturgical celebration - including provision of the EF Mass. 

The four of us Synod members from this parish then got together and, to be honest, we didn't get much further. We can all identify concerns and areas where we would like to see the Church doing better but concrete proposals of how to do this seemed a bit beyond us. Perhpas the "avarage" person in he pew just doesn't' care enough, perhaps they just don't know enough about how the church works to know what to suggest, perhaps they think that's the job of the bishop and priests. 

We did come to the conclusion that most of what we would suggest to be taken up is really already mandated, commanded and taught (at an official level) but that most of these things are not enforced, practiced, encouraged, taught or implemented. So, for example:


Fewer and fewer people coming to Mass....
Canon Law and the Catechism teach plainly that this is not allowed and indeed sinful.


Our schools bear the epithet "Catholic"...
But more and more the Faith is not taught well in them, it is watered down  and we have capitulated to the secular gods of climate, diversity and taking part in Red Nose Day. To say nothing of the fact that so many teachers are not practising Catholics and the vast majority of the children attending neve go to Mass and their families can in no way be said to be practising the Faith.


The liturgical documents of the Second Vatican Council clearly mandate the retention of the Latin language and lain chant in the celebration of the liturgy...
Show me the diocese or the seminary where this is encouraged.


If people will not follow the basic teachings of the Faith - or have never been taught it - why do we think they will suddenly come along because we introduce an extra layer of bureaucracy in some local committee  or an out-reach worker?


We came to the conclusion that we already have an excellent program of teaching and structures but we have simply abandoned them, ignored them, watered them down, allowed them to be tainted by secularism. We seem to be ashamed of them and on the look-out for someone else's hobby horse to jump on. Or looking for methods and structures lifted from the corporate and secular world as "new" models we might adopt (which never seem to work very well in the Church's unique situation). 

That is, we are suffering from a lack of joyful pride in who we are, embarrassed at the teachings Jesus left us and abandoned the lessons the Church has learnt over 2,000 years, believing only "new" things can make us shinny and attractive to the modern world. 

We have allowed ourselves to be caricatured as the gossipy old biddy in the sitcom; the priest who always leaves his ministry because he falls in love in every film; or even worse, that all priests are tainted with unnatural desires, deformed by their vow of celibacy; that our Faith cannot any longer be presented in it's fullness because we too have followed the world and given up believing in it. If we don't have confidence in it, how can we expect anyone else to?

Never give up!

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Remembrance Sunday

We will remember them

at Holy Masses at

11.30am (EF)

Sunday, 3 November 2019

All Souls Mass

I celebrated Mass for All Souls 
to the accompaniment of 
Claudio Casciolini's Missa pro Defunctis,
which was very lovely.

My thanks to the singers and the altar servers 
and the ladies who made the refreshments afterwards
as well as to members of the Order of St Lazarus who were present,
including one of our Esquires acting as MC for the Mass.
Thanks to John Robinson for the photographs.

There are lots more photos at:

Monday, 28 October 2019

All Saints and All Souls

Masses at St Catherine's


9.30am (OF)

7pm (EF)


11am Missa Cantata (EF)
with the Absolutions

Tea & Coffee afterwards in the Pope John Paul Room

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Synod 2020. Number 21. Cardinal Sarah's thoughts

I'm reading Cardinal Sarah's book "The Day is now far spent".
A very powerful read.

Some of his thoughts jump out the page at me as wholly relevant to the Synod here in Liverpool. I believe one of the ingredients missing is a lack of any reference to the doctrines of the Church.

"Rather dry and dusty; talking about THOSE is not going to get anyone jumping for joy and running back to the arms of Jesus..". I hear the groans already. 

But what are those doctrines? Surely, the beautiful teachings by which Jesus wants to look after us in our lives on earth; care for us in our relationships with one another and His world.. and show us to Heaven. 

I'm not suggesting that we stand at street corners trying to hawk St Anslem's satisfaction theory of atonement to the passing punters but a sound theology surely needs to underpin our practical efforts. Beginning from only our own individual subjective experience is just not enough - for Faith or for the process for a Synod.

This following paragraph struck home with me.

Cardinal Sarah:

"Surely the most alarming symptom [of the crisis in the Church] is the way in which men and women who call themselves Catholics pick and choose among the truths of the Creed. Joseph Ratzinger mentioned it in these terms in 1970: 'What was hitherto unthinkable becomes normal: that men who long ago abandoned the Church's Creed should in good conscience regard themselves as truly progressive Christians. For them, however, the only standard by which to measure the Church is the expediency with which She functions.'"

In large sectors of the Church, we have lost the sense of God's objectivity. Each individual starts from his subjective experience and creates for himself a religion that suits him. What a shame!'"

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Synod 2020. Number 20

Our Diocesan Synod here in Liverpool Archdiocese is now at the point of having discerned four themes on which we are invited to submit proposals. The four themes are:

To encourage our thoughts these are the areas we are directed to under this first theme:

What people said:
  • "Gifts of lay people should be appropriately used"
  • "Priesthood is valued"
  • "Young people need particular support as they discern their choices"
  • "Priests need to be better supported"
  • "Role of women in the Church should be celebrated"
  • "Be more inclusive and welcoming of diversity"
  • "Young people have a vital and valuable contribution to make"
  • And much more!
In this Synod Theme we reflect on the vocation that God gives to each of us.

In becoming the Church that God is calling us to be:
  • What different models of leadership in parishes could we explore?
  • How should we encourage and equip people to use their different gifts in mission and ministry?
  • How do we enable people of all ages, especially young people, to grow, flourish and contribute as part of our communities?
  • What needs to change about the way priests are recruited, trained, appointed and supported?
  • What structures need to be put in place to ensure effective collaboration between ordained and lay people?

There is much here that presumes a particular direction of travel and much that one might think is rather starkly missing. I'm presenting the proposals below as my own and share them here as my own thoughts on the direction we might take.


Programmes or courses to help lay people in their primary mission of sanctifying the world in which they live, amongst their families and in their workplaces. (As insisted on by the 2nd Vatican Council)

Active participation in the liturgy. Not be “doing” lots of thing or taking over the priest’s jobs but by a deeper sense of prayer.

Re-affirming the proper leadership role of the priest in the  parish.

Let priests be priests, rather than usurp the priest’s liturgical and leadership roles with protestantised lay leadership.

Re-affirm the ministry of lay people that is exemplified by the spiritual and practical sodalities where they most properly exercise their ministry: the Legion of Mary, the SVP, Young Christian Workers, Opus Dei, Knights of St Columbas etc.

Laity taking responsibility for the “secular” parts of the everyday life of the parish: maintenance, secretarial etc.

We welcome diversity of people (that is Catholic), but there can be no compromise with diversity of opinion where it is in opposition to the teaching of the God’s Church.

A much stronger emphasis on recruiting Vocations to the Priesthood.

A much stronger emphasis on recruiting to the Religious Life—one area where the role of women has been tragically neglected.

A much stronger emphasis on the vocation of Christian Marriage: a concept now so alien in our society that Our Lord’s teaching is now in fact an alterative lifestyle choice in this area.

As the laity’s Vocation is in the world, an encouragement and emphasis on Catholics engaging in politics for the common good, so that the Church might influence the world instead of the secular world setting the agenda.

A reaffirmation of the absolute minimum actions required of Catholics: the precepts of the Church: 
To attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation; 
To fast and abstain from meat on appointed days; 
To confess one’s sins at least once a year; 
To receive Holy Eucharist during the Easter time; 
To contribute to the support of the Church; To observe the laws of the Church concerning marriage; 
To join in the missionary spirit and apostolate of the Church Baptism.

Monday, 21 October 2019

E F Mass priest needed

I'm reaching to any priest local enough to come and cover a Sunday EF Mass at 11.30 on the occasional Sunday. I'm having difficulties getting cover on all the occasions I might need it.
It's usually Low Mass, occasionally Missa Cantata or Low Mass with hymns.
Any help appreciated.
Many thanks.
Fr Simon.