Friday 21 March 2014

New Archbishop for Liverpool

Bishop Malcolm celebrating Solemn Vespers at Merton College Chapel.
(Photo courtesy of Lawrence Lew, OP)

Welcome to Archbishop Elect, 
Malcolm Patrick McMahon
as the ninth Archbishop of Liverpool.

Born on 14th June 1949, he became the ninth Bishop of Nottingham on 8th December 2000 and will be the ninth Archbishop of Liverpool. Although born in London, he studied in Manchester (mechanical engineering at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology) in his youth, and worked briefly as a parish Priest in Newcastle upon Tyne before being elected as Prior Provincial of the Dominicans in 1992 and 1996.

Our Lady Immaculate - Pray for us.
St Joseph - Pray for us.
St Kentigern - Pray for us.

Thanks to Pope Francis that the two new latest bishops (Fr Robert Byrne last week) for England and Wales are both men who are friends of the Traditional Form of the Mass. 

Further here on the announcement from the Bishops' Conference website.

Bishop Malcolm celebrating Pontifical Mass in the Chapel of Ratcliffe College.
(Courtesy of Joseph Shaw)

I noted in a previous post that Bishop Malcolm wrote the following about the celebration of the Mass:

When I was a boy most people went to Mass with a missal in their hands, or devotional books like The Treasury of the Sacred Heart, which helped them to follow the Mass and to participate in it. There was a general trend in those days, going back to Pope St Pius X (d. 1914), urging the faithful to ‘participate actively’ in the Mass. In the 1960s, the Second Vatican Council (or Vatican II) took up and continued the same theme.

Back then, of course, Mass was in Latin. People used their missals to understand more deeply the prayers of the Mass, and they also knew how to sing in Latin. At the very least Latin is as important for our culture and worship as Hebrew is for the Jewish people. Since Vatican II, Mass in the vernacular language (English in our case) has become widespread, but it began as, and remains, a concession. Vatican II envisaged that the Mass would ordinarily be celebrated in Latin, and it stressed the need for the faithful to be able to say or sing together in Latin the parts of the Mass which pertain to them, and it commended the use of Gregorian chant, saying that it should be given pride of place in liturgical functions.

More recently, in the autumn of 2005, bishops from around the world gathered in Rome for an Extraordinary Synod to mark the end of the Year of the Eucharist. The bishops put a series of suggestions to Pope Benedict, one of which proposed that Mass at international gatherings should be in Latin, and ‘that the possibility of educating the faithful in this way [should] not be overlooked.’ The pope responded with his exhortation Sacramentum caritatis in 2007 in which he endorsed this particular proposition in its entirety. Many of our parishes are fortunate to be able to welcome Catholics from all over the globe and from a wide range of language groups, making Mass often a truly international gathering which manifests the catholicity of our Church. Many of our parishioners are fortunate enough to be able to travel abroad, going to Mass at international gatherings. On these occasions the catholic, i.e. universal, nature of the Church becomes especially apparent, and it is most appropriate to celebrate this by the use of Latin, the official and universal language in the Western Church, and to sing our timeless heritage of Gregorian chant.

It is a mistake to assume that the Mass should be translated into simple English, because the Mass never is and never can be fully understood. Even a translation should give us a glimpse of the unsearchable beauty of God. The Mass is a mystery whose depths we can never plumb, whose treasures we can never exhaust, all the while drawing more riches and grace for us. Pope Benedict reminds us that it is God’s gift and God’s work, or it is nothing at all. To emphasize the central position of Christ in the Mass, the Pope asks us to ‘turn towards the Lord’, Conversi ad Dominum – the ancient call to prayer in the early Church:
‘The idea that the priest and people should stare at one another during prayer was born only in modern Christianity, and is completely alien to the ancient Church. The priest and people most certainly do not pray one to the other, but to the one Lord. Therefore, they stare in the same direction during prayer: either towards the east as a cosmic symbol of the Lord who comes, or, where this is not possible, towards the image of Christ in the apse, towards a crucifix, or simply towards the heavens, as our Lord Himself did in his priestly prayer the night before His Passion (cf. John 17.1). In the meantime the proposal made by me... is fortunately becoming more and more common: rather than proceeding with further transformations, simply to place the crucifix at the centre of the altar, which both priest and the faithful can face and be led in this way towards the Lord, whom everyone addresses in prayer together.’
The image of our crucified Lord on the altar does not obstruct the priest from the sight of the faithful, for they are not to look to the celebrant at that point in the Mass. The priest is not more important than the Lord; we are to turn our gaze towards the Lord. These are norms which should become widespread if we are to worship more in keeping with the mind of the Church, and expressed by Vatican II. Pope Benedict adds, 
‘The Eucharistic celebration is enhanced when priests and liturgical leaders are committed to making known the current liturgical texts and norms. Perhaps we take it for granted that our ecclesial communities already know and appreciate these resources, but this is not always the case. These texts contain riches which have preserved and expressed the faith and experience of the People of God over its two thousand year history.’ (Sacramentum caritatis, 40)

For the faithful to participate actively at Mass, as has been mandated by successive popes as well as the Second Vatican Council, they must be familiar with the texts and chants.

Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon, O.P.
Bishop of Nottingham 
Memorial of St Scholastica, 2010 


ACC92 said...

Bishop Malcom is a good egg, and has done good work to promote priestly vocations, with two excellent vocations directors and 13 seminarians to show for it.

Anonymous said...

Let us be full of Hope and Faith as we move forward.

However, the good bishop does have some work on his hands, here.

Veni Creator Spiritus
St Dominic - pray for us
St Thomas Aquinas - pray for us

Fr Michael Brown said...

Congratulations on your new bishop! Looks good.

David O'Neill said...

Having known Bishop Malcolm quite well for some years (he is Spiritual Advisor to the Knights of St Columba & I served with him as a Supreme Director) I can say that he is a very good & caring man who will facilitate the celebrations of the EF Mass as often as possible or necessary. I'm sure we all know how often he has publicly celebrated the EF - how many other bishops can say this. God Bless Bishop Malcolm & grant him a long stay in Liverpool.

Anonymous said...

He made some really positive remarks about the Old Rite. You can see them at:

I pray that the appointment will bring many fruits to the Archidioecesis Liverpolitanus

Kevin Jones