Tuesday 12 October 2010

Ordination Anniversary

I have been ordained to the Priesthood for nineteen years today!
The photo above shows the very moment the deed was done with Archbishop Derek Worlock being most dramatic.
The Church is English Martyrs in Litherland, Liverpool, where I had spent my Diaconate placement with Fr Michael Culhane - a kind and prayerful priest, who died only earlier this year, may he rest in peace.

The times have certainly changed for the better in many ways within the Church in this country. At my ordination I had great worries that the Archbishop would make me change beforehand as there was an inch of lace set into my alb! Certainly, no Latin in the liturgy. At the time there was barely a magazine you might want to subscribe to - now there are a whole host of orthodox publications and of course, the news and information via the internet.

However, although the Holy Father has been encouraging a hermeneutic of continuity and the idea that everything before Vatican II was awful and everything since wonderful is becoming ever more passé, the situation on the ground is still very difficult for priests who consider themselves orthodox. (I try not to use the epithet "traditional" of myself because that's not really how I perceive myself and it is sometimes used as a term of abuse, implying an old-fashioned outlook, which I completely reject). I was speaking to a priest of this diocese only the other day and we were both wondering how it is that those who are considered "old-fashioned" "trad" or orthodox only have to mention the Catechism or the Code of Canon Law or the habitual use of centuries and we are labelled stern rubricists, ready to bring back witch hunts, the churching of women, flogging, regular confession and the Inquisition (all these things being imputed to anyone unfortunate enough to get the Trad tag) with the diocesan authorities ready to back up any complaint made about such priests. While at the same those with the allegedly "modern" label can break Canon Law, liturgical and sacramental norms, hurling General Absolution at passing buses and never a word seems to be said. This is still my own day to day experience and that of many others not nearly so mad trad as I'm thought to be. Still, nobody ever said it would be easy!

I found this photo below of Ushaw (I think in 1990 when I was a Deacon - I'm the only one in a cassock; possibly the last Ushaw student to attend lectures in his cassock, though I'd love to be corrected on that). It is a bit difficult to tell who is ordained and who is not as there is quite a lot of cross-dressing going on! This was at the end of my time there and the numbers were already decreasing but in my first year we numbered FIFTY as a new intake. They told us then there was a vocations shortage!


Anonymous said...

Ad multos annos. Hope you have a great day!

sirhumphrey said...

Who would that handsome chap on the second row next to Declan Donnelly's brother be? Whoops that would be me!!
Congratulations Father Henry.


Fr Michael Brown said...

Congratulations on your anniversary, Father ( and on your blog!).

torchofthefaith said...

Congratulations on your anniversary Father!

Angie and I shall keep you in our prayers this evening at the Latin Mass over in Ford.

As you know I was in attendance at your ordination as a sullen teenager - and at that time not a Catholic. How much Grace has been given to us during all these years!

You remain a great encouragement to many souls in these tumultuous times.

In Christ
Alan Houghton

RJ said...

I recognise the pressures you describe, having experienced them myself. One can but persevere.