Saturday 30 October 2010

Sir Humphrey to run the Diocese!

There is a proposal afoot in our diocese to re-organise the order of the sacraments of initiation, ie Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist - probably all taking place during the primary school years. The diocesan Mandarins seem to be desperate to make sure this happens - internal memos are arriving thick and fast in the form of e-mails and letters and ALL clergy are summoned to a meeting this coming week. Among the ordinary working priests I speak to, I can't find anyone who is in favour of it from any quarter. Concerns range from

- it's just not practical

- disagree that we need to be archaeologists and return to some time in the past as the answer to our problems

- don't think it will make any difference to the rate of practice (for example, what difference has it made in any diocese where it has been tried?)

- where is confession supposed to fit in (it doesn't appear to be mentioned).

Things are not helped by some of the nonsense that is being sent to us. I will quote one, desperate example, out of context and without names, as I don't want to get myself into trouble (by the way, the internal quotation marks are in the original text):
'He responded by saying that he was minded to do it but does not want to close down discussion of what 'it' will entail... He said that we are still deciding what 'it' is, but whatever 'it' is, we're going to do it...'

Sir Humphrey would be proud!

Regarding IT - I think the ordinary priests may have decided to pitch in their lot with Groucho Marx in the video clip below...


Ttony said...

Is this the same bizarre nonsense Bishop Kelly instituted in Salford in the 1980s? Cofirmation two years before First Holy Communion? Confession whenever? First Communions on Easter Sunday?

And, errr, which bit of Preston are you in, diocesisanly speaking?

Fr Simon Henry said...

Preston is only the postcode - St Catherine's is in Farington, Leyland - the Archdiocese of Liverpool.

Ttony said...


Best of luck, Father!

And prayers.

Fr PF said...

We've had this in many Scottish dioceses for several years. Most of the priests and teachers would prefer to go back to the previous system.

Sixupman said...

Oh for the days of Friday weekly confession from junior school, Sunday Mass registers, First Communion and at twelve (?) Confirmation. But then we were taught what it all actually meant.

Whereas my parish priest's explanation to First Communicants: best meal, at best table, at best restaurant in town! I joke not.

torchofthefaith said...

Dear Father Simon,

A few points on this:-

1. Members of the laity also feel bemused by this 'process' but have no real forum to express their concerns and at times feel completely abandoned even by orthodox clergy.

2. Some parents are very concerned because they would prefer their children to be Confirmed as young adults and think that - as primary educators - they should at least have some say in the matter.

3. The First Confession issue must be addressed by the Bishops and priests in their 'conversation' over 'it' in order to remain faithful to the teachings of the Church.

4. The idea of the local parish priest becoming the ordinary minister of Confirmation (for children) seems to go against both the spirit and letter of Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

5. Bill Huebsch - the American 'catechist' who has been brought in to introduce the new order of the Sacraments is a known dissenter from the Magisterium. He learned from Thomas Groome, an ex-priest who has done untold damage to catechesis in America. The Groome-effect is documented in the book A Generation Betrayed.

Here are a few of the errors of Bill Huebsch -

A. He has spoken out publicly in favour of homosexual partnerships.

B. He has spoken at Call to Action conferences in America (a notorious organisation known for its dissent from Church teaching).

C. He interprets the Second Vatican Council as an opportunity to overthrow elements of the Tradition.

D. He claims in one of his books that we can 'break tortilla and pitta at home' instead of attending Sunday Mass in order to release the 'energy' we share...

E. His approach to catechesis asserts personal experience over doctrine and dogma.

F. He suggests that we teach children to pray in the name of God rather than in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

6. Several of the people in the Archdiocese who are making the key decisions on this matter are, Ahem, not exactly known for their orthodoxy. Of grave concern is the fact that a key 'mandarin' once preached at Ushaw College in my presence that he no longer believed in the Sacrament of Confirmation - to much laughter from the gathered congregation...

7. We blogged recently about a young lady who had a poor formation in the Faith. This was partly due to the fact that she 'grew up in a dicoese which rushed through the sacraments of initiation in one year' (Her words). She ended up in the Occult and despair until God rescued her with His Grace and brought her back to Confession and Holy Communion.

Please be assured that we shall be praying for you all on the 3rd!

In Christ
Alan Houghton