Monday 30 May 2011

Solemn Mass

Matthew McCarthy is vested by bishop Fabian Bruskuwitz at the Seminary Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Denton, Nebraska in the USA on 21st May.

Last year Matthew was deacon at Mass here at St Catherine's (which was the subject of the first post on this blog!)

After the Ordination Mass Fr Matthew gives his first blessing to the Bishop.

Fr McCarthy will be offering Mass here at
St Catherine's this Friday 3rd June at 5.30pm
and giving first blessings afterwards.

As well as his family and friends in the congregation, I hope that many others will come along to wish him well. The music for the Mass will be provided by a group of seminarians from the FSSP Seminary. In recognition of the parish dedication to St Catherine Labouré, Fr McCarthy will offer a Mass of the Miraculous Medal. We will raise a glass to him ad multos annos in the Pope John Paul Room immediately.

There is also a Solemn Mass of the Ascension this Thursday at 7pm
here at St Catherine's -
again, light refreshments in the Pope John Paul Room afterwards.

Walsingham Family Pilgrimage

I spent the weekend in Walsingham with the National Association of Catholic Families (pictured above - you can just about see me in the background being swamped!) Each year they have a pilgrimage to Walsingham (most families ever this year) where they camp out in the field next door to the Reconciliation Chapel and arrange talks for the children (divided by age and boys and girls separate) and for the parents. As well as me the talks were given by three sisters, two brothers (from the Franciscans of the Immaculate in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent), and three other priests - including Fr Agnellus Murphy from the Friars - along with the Bishop of Shrewsbury, Mark Davies. It was great to be with such committed Catholic families and hear of their struggles and joys in various parts of the country.

There was a great presentation about the "This is my Body" programme that originated in Lancaster diocese to teach primary school children about personal development. It seemed like a fabulous resource for schools and families to use.

Pictured above with two of Fr Tim Finnigan's parishioners (very unruly types!)
and below Maria Hayne with Bishop Mark Davies and others assisting at the Pilgrimage.

Sunday 29 May 2011

The Silent Apostasy

Robert Cardinal Sarah

Rorate Caeli reports on an address by Cardinal Robert Sarah, President of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unam" to the General Assembly of Caritas International. He speaks of the West now experiencing a serious moral regression and "silent apostasy" (cf Christifideles Laici, no. 34) and how the Holy Father has considered this religious indifference as the major challenge of the Church today.

I thought the address was particularly notable in that it brought to a close the same conference where Fr Timothy Radcliffe, the former General Secretary of the Dominicans known for his liberal opinions, was banned from giving a keynote address and replaced with Cardinal Bertone, the Secretary of State for the Holy See. Recently, the former Caritas General Secretary, Lesley-Anne Knight was not allowed to stand for re-election by the Vatican.

Cardinal Sarah says:
It is important to understand that our charitable organisations are located within the Church and not alongside her. The Church cannot be considered as a partner of Catholic organisations. They are the organisations that take part in her mission.
This seems to point to the religious indifference and creeping apostasy not being limited to the secular world but something insidious within the Church. So called "catholic" organisations so often seem to regard themselves as lobby groups with an aim to change the teaching of the church, as though the deposit of the Faith were some sort of government legislation that could be changed if only enough people would complain. Not part of the Church but in opposition ('loyal' or otherwise).

This idea of organisations bearing the Catholic name but seeing themselves alongside the Church instead of within Her is my experience of Catholic schools in this country. In fact, I have often heard it said that the school and not the parish as become the locus of the Faith in any given area. How this can be when the vast majority of our schools have only a tiny minority of students, let alone teachers, who actually practice the Faith (or are even Catholics)? Our schools may be good educationally but I see no evidence of strong faith or that the softly-softly approach brings people to faith. It often appears that the school sees itself not as part of the parish but as alongside it or even as the main focus of the Faith with the parish as an attachment to the school. I recently have had terrible difficulties with some school governors making an attempt to control what goes on in the parish church, completely outside the remit of any governing body.
Here it is that so many "Catholic" organisations gradually creep away from the mantle of the Church and distance themselves from the teachings of the Church in order to make themselves more acceptable to the secular world - or in the case of a school, more acceptable to their constituents - non-practising families or those with an agenda not in full accord with the teachings of the Church.

Friday 27 May 2011

Life in the Seminary

The Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, has a Catholic population of about 95,000, 148 diocesan priests, of whom 123 are active in the diocese, 7 active outside the diocese, and 18 retired. Oh, and they have 41 seminarians.

The Diocese of Lincoln has been conducting an annual census of Mass attendance during the past few years. The diocesan average is 60% Sunday Mass attendance.

Bishop Bruskewitz fully expects that the priests of the Diocese of Lincoln faithfully follow the rubrics and words of the Roman Missal and does not tolerate liturgical 'creativity'.

Bishop Bruskewitz conducted the ordinations last Saturday at the FSSP Seminary in his diocese from whence the newly ordained Fr Matthew McCarthy will be coming to offer Solemn Mass here at St. Catherine's this coming Friday 3rd June at 5.30pm. A Votive Mass of the Miraculous Medal in recognition of our parish patron.

Interestingly, the small French Diocese of Frejus-Toulon with an encouraging bishop - Mgr Dominique Rey has re-opened its own diocesan seminary where they now have about 75 seminarians. The bishop intends that every parish church will once more have its own priest. Thanks to the number of seminarians, this is a realistic objective.

I couldn't help but see the sad contrast here in England where my Alma Mater, Ushaw College is to close its doors after more than 200 years and a recent picture of the remaining Ushaw seminarians outside the long-closed Junior Seminary (courtesy of Fr Michael Brown.) There seems to be life in some seminaries but not in others. What are the factors that bring this new life, I wonder?

Bishop Rey & Bishop Bruskewitz encourage the celebration of the Extraordinary Form, insist on good seminary formation, vigorously defend the Holy Father, insist on orthodoxy from their clergy, have no truck with the secular agenda, and have a clear vision of the way forward for their dioceses - and the vocations keep coming! Remind me again why Ushaw is closing? Oh, right.

Here are the 76 seminarians of the (again very small in population) diocese of Frejus-Toulon processing into the Cathedral for the Chrism Mass this year.

Ushaw: The Chapel at the senior seminary, which will no doubt soon fall into the same disrepair as the junior house.

The Diocese of Lincoln has an excellent Vocations page, as does the Diocese of Frejus-Toulon.

(Unfortunately, when I tried to access the Vocations page on the website of the Archdiocese of Liverpool I received the message: "Internal Server Error. The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request." Hmmmm. Interesting.)

Thursday 26 May 2011

Liverpool Cathedral

No - not that one!

This one!

Some time ago news was going around the diocese that there were to be Methodist "ordinations" at the Cathedral in Liverpool - and in fact, it was on the Cathedral web-site. As it was not an emergency or a necessity, it seems very odd to me but a little too close to home for me to say much about (for those who are amazed, I can be discreet and keep my mouth shut sometimes). I've actually fond memories of attending "Bible Club" in the summer holidays at the local Methodist church when I was growing up and I'm told there is a Methodist minister lurking somewhere in the family history.

Anyway, after the intervention of the appropriate Vatican departments, the prospective service has now been called off. See Fr Z's post.

Tuesday 24 May 2011

First Holy Communion

We celebrated First Holy Communion at the start of May. Here we are cutting the cake!

This Sunday the statue of Our Lady was crowned with blossoms!

Queen of Heaven rejoice. Alleluia!

Monday 23 May 2011

Traditional Ordinations by Bishop Dominique Rey

When I was in the Diocese of Frejus-Toulon in France last week with Bishop Dominique Rey, there was some comment on the Traditional Form Ordinations to the Diaconate that he had conferred in his Cathedral on 11th May. This was because two days later Universae Ecclesiae was published and seemed to say that in the future this would not be possible for bishops to do unless it was for communities directly under the Ecclesiae Dei. There is a short report here and a set of photos here. Although the unusual restriction in Ecclesiae Dei disappointed some, I am given to understand that no request by a diocesan bishop to Ecclesiae Dei for particular permission to ordain in the Traditional Form has ever been denied and that there may be room for some movement and clarification.

Sunday 22 May 2011


The Seminary Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe at Denton, Nebraska.
Diaconate Ordinations last year.

Matthew McCarthy, who used to attend my former parish in Wigan, was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood yesterday at the Seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter in Nebraska, USA.

Congratulations! Ad multos Annos!

Fr Michael Brown has some photos of the Ordination and some comment on the fact that the Fraternity has a full seminary while Ushaw College in Durham is closing its doors after more than 200 years and that the Archbishop of Westminster is not following the strong recommendation of the Holy Father to teach the Traditional Form of the Mass to seminarians.

Fr Matthew will offer Solemn Mass here at St Catherine's on Friday 3rd June at 5.30pm.

Incidentally, the seminary in the diocese of Frejus-Toulon (that covers St Tropez, from where I have just returned) does embrace the Traditional Form of the Mass as well as the new and has over 70 seminarians - for one small diocese. The result of a far-sighted, very pastoral and kind Bishop - Mgr Dominic Rey.

Friday 20 May 2011

St Tropez Bravade

I have spent the week in St Tropez at the 453rd annual Bravade for the Saint. Over three days processions, salutes, Masses and devotions take place all over the town, with many in traditional Provencale costume. The Bravadeurs all have to be St Tropez born and bred and are technically the private soldiers and sailors of the town. The bust of St Tropez is carried with great honour around the town and saluted with exceptionally loud gun volleys at every opportunity. The Tropéziens take great pride in the Saint and the Bravade and the traditions stretch back 453 years. I was priviliged to take my turn escorting the saint along the port and through part of the town (thus giving the Curé and others a break, as the procession lasts for hours and only finishes at midnight with Benediction in the parish church. You can read the story of the Saint and his connection with the town here.

Bravadeurs choose local dignataries and others to throw into the air three times on the way from the thanksgiving Mass. Here Fr Peter Watts, Curé of Grimaud and me in my cassock are subjected to the tradition!

The Bravadeurs prepare to salute.

The Curé of St Tropez, Fr Michael Hayes, blesses the Bravadeurs.

Clerics processing through the gun-smoke filled square.

The procession sets off around the town.

The sailors salute the Parish Priest.

St Tropez in glory.

Mgr. Domininque Rey, Bishop of Fréjus-Toulon holds the Pax Brede as each of the Bravadeurs comes up to reverence it.

Visitiing Bishop of Pontoise, Mrg. JeanYves Riocreux takes part in the procession. Everyone carries a little bouquet of red and white flowers - the colours of St Tropez.

Bishop Rey and the Curé of St Tropez in procession around the town.

Bishop Riocreux is escorted in procession by members of the Military and Hospitaller Order of of St Lazarus.

Bishop Rey turns t0 bless the crowds with Pere Michel Hayes by his side.

Incidentally, this week's Catholic Herald has an interview with Pere Michel titled "There's more to Saint-Tropez than film stars" (May 20th, page 7). I wholeheartedly concur!

Thursday 19 May 2011

Roman figures speak out on Summorum Pontificum

Cardinal Koch : "The rigid conservatism of many progressives".

I copy below an article on Zenit which I think speaks very eloquently about what the Holy Father is trying doing in regard to the Traditional Form of the Roman Rite. My guess would be that leading figures in Rome speaking so clearly after the publication of Universae Ecclesiae is meant to signpost futher what the Holy Father wants us all to do. I particularly like the phrase of Cardinal Koch when speaking of the "rigid conservatism of many progressives". Ouch!

Priest Reflects on Old Liturgy in Church's Future
Congress Held on "Summorum Pontificum"
By Inma Álvarez

ROME, MAY 16, 2011.

Benedict XVI's decision to regulate the celebration of the Mass in its extraordinary form is more than a concession to certain groups of "nostalgic" faithful, says Monsignor Guido Pozzo.

In fact, the secretary of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" said, it is the beginning of a new liturgical movement desired by the Pope, which must be perceived by the Church as "a sign of hope."

The priest made this reflection on Saturday in a symposium at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. The congress centered on the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum," after the publication on Friday of the instruction "Universae Ecclesiae," regarding the application of this 2007 document.

Taking part in the symposium, titled "A Hope for the Whole Church," were speakers such as Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, as well as Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

In Monsignor Pozzo's intervention, published in Sunday's edition of L'Osservatore Romano, he explained the meaning of the instruction, which puts within the reach of all the faithful the rich liturgical patrimony.

The Pope's decision, stressed the priest, is in continuity with "Sacrosanctum Concilium," which affirmed "equal right and honor to all legitimately recognized rites, and wants them preserved in the future and in some way increased."

Now, both forms of the Roman liturgy "are an example of reciprocal increase and enrichment," he stressed. "Whoever thinks or acts otherwise, stains the unity of the Roman rite, which must be tenaciously safeguarded."

Monsignor Pozzo reiterated that "Universae Ecclesiae" must not be understood as an "indult" or "a law for particular groups," but as "a law for the whole Church."


He stated, "The well-known principle lex orandi-lex credendi is at the base of the re-establishment of the extraordinary form: the Catholic doctrine of the Mass in the Roman rite has not changed, because liturgy and doctrine are inseparable."

In each form there can be "accentuations, underscoring, assertions more marked in some aspects in regard to others, but this does not affect the essential unity of the liturgy," the priest explained.

Moreover, he said that the liturgy is "matter reserved for the Pope" and that in the Pontiff's letter to bishops accompanying "Summorum Pontificum" he stressed that "there is no contradiction whatsoever between the two."

The Holy Father "wants to help all Catholics to live the truth of the liturgy so that, knowing and participating in the old Roman form of celebration, they understand that 'Sacrosanctum Concilium' wished to reform the liturgy in continuity with tradition," Monsignor Pozzo said.

For his part, Cardinal Koch said that the Motu Proprio "will mean steps forward in ecumenism" only if both forms of the one Roman rite are not considered as "an antithesis" but "as mutual enrichment."

In this sense, he explained that the ecumenical problem "is found in this essential hermeneutic question."

Those who see in "Summorum Pontificum" a step backwards do so because "they understand the post-conciliar liturgical reform as a point of arrival, which must be defended, according to the rigid conservatism of many progressives," explained the cardinal.

"In fact," he added, "they prefer to uphold the hermeneutics of discontinuity and rupture, regarded as inadequate by the Pope, applying it especially to the field of the liturgy and of ecumenism."

Ecumenical change

The prelate noted that the decree on ecumenism also marked a new beginning in relations of the Catholic Church with the other Christian confessions, but "this ecumenical change must not imply a rupture with tradition; rather, it is inscribed in a continuity with tradition."

Herein "lies the fundamental question for the future of the Catholic Church and, at the same time, for the credibility of its ecumenism," Cardinal Koch pointed out, adding that "Summorum Pontificum could be a really solid ecumenical bridge if it is perceived and received as a hope for the whole Church."

He explained that the Pope "believes that a new liturgical movement is indispensable today," which in the past he himself described as "a reform of the reform of the liturgy."

The prelate continued, "The Holy Father knows that the post-conciliar liturgical reform has borne many positive fruits, but that post-conciliar liturgical developments also show many areas of shadow, due to a great extent to the fact that the council's concept of paschal mystery has not been taken sufficiently into account."

Hence, he said, "also necessary today is a new liturgical movement, which has as its objective to make fruitful the true patrimony of the Second Vatican Council in the present situation of the Church, consolidating at the same time the theological foundations of the liturgy."

Therefore, the cardinal asserted, not only is "the revitalizing of the Christological primacy, of the cosmic dimension and of the character of adoration of the liturgy" necessary, "but also and above all the rediscovery of the basic meaning of the paschal mystery in the celebration of the Christian liturgy."

According to the cardinal, the Motu Proprio "is only the beginning."


He noted that "Benedict XVI knows well that in the long term we cannot remain with a coexistence between the ordinary and extraordinary forms in the Roman rite, but that the Church will again need in the future a common rite."

"However," he said, "given that a new liturgical form cannot be decided in an office, as it requires a process of growth and purification, for the time being the Pope stresses above all that the two forms of use of the Roman rite can and must enrich one another mutually."

Among other things, he suggests that in the novus ordo "that sacredness that attracts many to the old use must manifest itself more forcefully," Cardinal Koch affirmed.

He added, "The most certain guarantee that Paul VI's missal will be able to unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in celebrating with great reverence and in conformity with the prescriptions, which makes visible the spiritual richness and theological profundity of the missal."

In fact, the prelate explained, one of the most important debates after the Second Vatican Council was precisely on the Eucharist, in three aspects: in the first place, if it is a sacrifice or a banquet; in the second place, if it is an action in which only the priest takes part or if it is an action of the people of God; third, between adoration or participation.

In regard to the Eucharist as a sacrifice or a banquet, he noted, the Catechism of the Catholic Church keeps united what is indivisible: "The Mass is at the same time and inseparably the memorial of the sacrifice in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated, and the sacred banquet of communion of the Body and Blood of the Lord."

In regard to the subject of the liturgy, Cardinal Koch acknowledged that in the course of history the original role of all the faithful as co-subjects of the liturgy decreased little by little, and the divine office in community of the early Church, in the sense of a liturgy that saw the whole community participating, had increasingly assumed the character of a private Mass of the clergy.

"The existence of a profound continuity between the old liturgy and the liturgical reform undertaken by the Second Vatican Council is seen in the wide and profound vision of the liturgical constitution, according to which integral public worship is exercised by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, namely, by the head and the members," he said.

Building bridges

In regard to the third debate on adoration and participation, the cardinal said that it is a "false contrast," as "already St. Augustine himself affirmed that no one can eat 'this flesh' unless he first adored it."

The prelate continued, "The post-conciliar liturgical reform is considered in large circles of the Catholic Church as a rupture with tradition and as a new creation," which has caused "a controversy over the liturgy that, lived in an emotional way, continues to be felt today."

That is why the Pope "wished to contribute to the resolution of this dispute and to reconciliation within the Church: the Motu Proprio promotes, so to speak, intra-Catholic ecumenism," he noted.

However, the prelate added, this presupposes that the old liturgy "is also understood as an 'ecumenical bridge.'"

"In fact," he concluded, "if the intra-Catholic ecumenism fails, the Catholic controversy over the liturgy will also extend to ecumenism, and the old liturgy will not be able to carry out its ecumenical function of bridge-building."

Saturday 14 May 2011

Dinner for Veterans Aid

I attended a small dinner at the Cavalry and Guards Club on Piccadilly last week under the auspices of The Military and Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem. It was being held to raise funds for Veterans Aid, a charity which looks after those who have been in the armed forces and have later found that they have fallen on hard times - to the point of being homeless. We raised £1,000 being presented by our Grand Prior, HE The Baron of Fetternear, MBE GCLJ JP to the Secretary Veterans Aid, Colonel Geoffrey Cardozo MBE.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

St John Cantius

Offering Holy Mass in the impressive church of St John Cantius, Chicago

I was away in the USA last week and had the privilege of meeting the Fathers and Brothers of the Canons Regular of St John Cantius in Chicago. Fr Frank Phillips took over a failing church and parish in downtown Chicago in 1988 when there were only 40 families attending Mass and has transformed the parish into an active and thriving community with a Mass attendance of 2,500 and in 1998 formed a community following the rule of St Augustine of 26 priests and brothers.
Mass is offered in both forms with the Novus Ordo in both Latin and English. Fr Phillips believes that a concern with celebrating the liturgy beautifully and in full conformity with the rubrics of the Church is important and his conviction certainly seems to have borne much fruit. The community pray the Divine Office in full and certainly the community members I met were very impressive, dedicated, young and serious about the Religious Life - but not stuffy or lacking a sense of humour.

Some further photos of Mass.

Br Matthew interrupting music practice to hold the door open for me!

I also had a lovely dinner with Fr Phillips and eight of the brothers and fathers at the fabulous Cathedral Hall at the University Club in Chicago. As you can see below.

Enjoying American hospitality - I think I ate my own weight in steaks!

Just to annoy him, I've included this photo at the University Club including my agnostic friend, Will Wendt!

You can watch a video (lifted from their website) about the transformation of the parish below.

Monday 9 May 2011

Liturgy Needs Tradition and Progress, Says Pope

The liturgy lives from a constant relationship between tradition and progress, according to Benedict XVI.

The Pope made this observation when he addressed participants in the 9th International Congress on the Liturgy sponsored by the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Rome's St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum.

The congress, titled "The Pontifical Institute: Between Memory and Prophecy," was celebrating the 50th anniversary of the institute's foundation by Pope John XXIII.

The Holy Father drew from this title a consideration of "memory" and "prophecy."

"In regard to memory, we must note the abundant fruits elicited by the Holy Spirit in half a century of history, and for this we must thank the Giver of all good, despite the misunderstandings and errors in the concrete realization of the reform," he said.

"With the term 'prophecy,'" the Pontiff continued, "our gaze opens to new horizons."

He said that:

"the liturgy of the Church goes beyond the 'conciliar reform. This reform, was not primarily to change the rites and gestures, but rather to renew mentalities and to put at the center of Christian life and ministry the celebration of the paschal mystery of Christ. Unfortunately, perhaps, also for us pastors and experts, the liturgy was taken more as an object to be reformed rather than a subject capable of renewing Christian life."

The liturgy lives from a "correct and constant relationship between healthy 'traditio' and legitimate 'progressio,'" he added.

"Not infrequently tradition and progress are clumsily opposed," the Pope stated. "In reality, the two concepts are integrated: tradition is a living reality, which because of this includes in itself the principle of development, of progress."