Saturday, 27 September 2014

More on St Walburge's

I posted earlier in some haste, as my supper was calling. However I did mention that the arrival if the ICKSP in our diocese was the start of something great. To give you an idea of what I mean, here is their weekly schedule:

10.00 am Confessions
10.30 am Sung mass
5.30 pm Vespers and Benediction

Monday to Friday:
7.30 am Lauds
8.00 am Meditation & Angelus
11.30 am Confessions and Rosary
12 noon Low Mass and Angelus
5.30 pm Vespers and Angelus
6.00 pm Holy Hour and Benediction
7.00 pm Compline

10.00 am Confessions and Rosary
10.30 am Low Mass and Devotions
5.00 pm Holy Hour and Benediction (Confessions during)

Note: Confessions heard every day, and twice on Saturdays.

In addition, here are there planned Activities at the Shrine:

Faith Formation: Catechism for various ages, including adults, to discover our holy faith
Choir: Singing Gregorian chant of polyphony and hymns at 10.30 am Sunday Mass
Altar Serving: Men and boys interested in learning to serve Mass, Vespers and Adoration
Sacramental Preparation: For baptism, confirmation and marriage or vocational discernment
Socials: Helping to prepare Sunday tea and coffee and other special events
House Blessings: The priest is happy to come and bless your home or enthrone the Sacred Heart.

I understand that their www site is due to go live at shortly; and I am sure that as they settle in and grow, they will be adding to these activities.

St Walburge's

Today marked the launch of the new apostolate of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, in our diocese.

The Institute was invited in by our bishop, +Campbell, to take over the iconic Church of St Walburge's in Preston, and establish it as a shrine for Eucharistic Adoration.

St Walburge's was opened in 1854, 160 years ago this year. It was designed by Hansom, of Hansom Carriage fame, as was Plymouth Cathedral; both are notable for their tall and elegant spires. St Walburge's also has a fantastic hammerbeam roof consturciton, allowing the nave to be free of pillars, creating an exceptionally spacious interior.

It seats about a thousand people, and by 11.45 it was standing room only for today's inaugural High Mass, at noon, celebrated by the Prior General, Monsignor Wach, in the presence of +Campbell, who preached the homily.

The ceremonies were dignified and joyful. The Mass was in honour of St Walburge (the Mass of a Virgin not a Martyr, Dilexisti). The organ was impressive, and there was a polyphonic choir to sing motets, as well as the schola, which sung the chant proper, and the ordinary (Mass 4).

Monsignor Wach greeted the Bishop before Mass with a brief address in the language of Bossuet, which was translated by one of his priests into the language of Shakespeare.

In his homily, the Bishop welcomed the Institute with great enthusiasm.

This is a major step forward in the diocese, following the example of +Davies at the Dome of Home.

It was a wonderful occasion, and promises to be the start of great things. I will blog more on this, but am being called to eat...

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

What now?

It seems that the EF Mass at Blackfen is definitely coming to an end next week, and in rather inexplicable circumstances. Many are understandably upset and even angry at the way things have developed.

However, the immediate question is, what now?

I suggest that there are two quite separate issues. One is the ill-feeling some will undoubtedly have towards Fr Fisher. Whether deserved or not, we know from Our Lord how we should respond: sicut et nos dimittimus...

The second is the provision of the EF Mass for those who used to attend it in Blackfen.  I think it indisputable that they constitute a stable group of the type mentioned in Summorum Pontificum.  Further, I am sure that their bishop will want to support their legitimate aspirations, and bring some peace into the community that has been disrupted, whatever the reasons for that disruption.

Therefore, I suggest that those affected should write to their bishop, in terms that make it abundantly clear that those who portray them as trouble-making malcontents are quite incorrect. That is, their letters should be polite, should avoid any criticism of Fr Fisher, and should stick to the point of asking the bishop to make new provision for this community, given the unfortunate turn of events at Blackfen.

I can imagine some readers spluttering at this; but I would point out that revenge has no part in traditional Catholicism. Moreover, the seminal text on negotiating, Getting to Yes, points out that you cannot negotiate a grievance - rather you should focus on negotiating a remedy.

It may well be that people feel strongly that Fr Fisher should be spoken to; but I suggest that that is a separate issue, and point out that any bishop is likely to stand by any priest whom he has just appointed and who is going through a difficult time - and that is not necessarily a bad thing. I would suggest keeping any such issues quite separate from the business of arranging alternative provision of an EF Mass; and I further suggest that there is an obvious sequence of activities that is more likely to be successful.

But if nobody contacts the bishop, he may feel justified in concluding that there is no need to make alternative provision.

So to move this forward: write (courteously and sticking to the point) and pray.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Found it!

I have blogged before (here and here, for example) about the risks to children of their mothers having live-in lovers.

I suggested that there were two important questions to address:
  • Is there a disproportionate frequency of abuse and murder of women and children by men living with women who have children by previous relationships?
  • If so, is there a causative link between such patterns of relationship and abuse, or is it merely a co-factor of other determinants (eg chaotic life style, educational levels, deprivation, poverty)?
It seems that there is some research on the first of these (and it confirms my suspicions).

The research is reported in an article called Suffer the Little Children: Cohabitation and the Abuse of America's Children (here).

The source reports makes chilling reading in all their findings; but what struck me particularly is this, which I quote verbatim from the first report cited (available here): 

'Children living with their married biological parents universally had the lowest rate, whereas those living with a single parent who had a cohabiting partner in the 
household had the highest rate in all maltreatment categories. Compared to children 
living with married biological parents, those whose single parent had a live-in partner had more than 8 times the rate of maltreatment overall, over 10 times the rate of abuse, and nearly 8 times the rate of neglect.

Is anybody telling young women that, as they preach the doctrine that the only sexual morality they need to consider is the morality of desire and mutual consent?

This is one of the true fruits of the so-called sexual liberation: but as a society, we dare not even discuss it.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Church as Hospital

Whenever someone horrid (such as me) suggests that those living in open, manifest and persistent sin should not present themselves for Holy Communion without going to confession first and making a firm purpose of amendment, we are told that 'the Church is a hospital for sinners, not a club for saints.'

Of course, that is quite correct.  But I would argue that it is traditionally-minded Catholics (such as me) who take that notion seriously, and those who see themselves as more progressive who do not.

The progressives whose great mantra is inclusivity and non-judgementalism, seem to think we are all healthy. Indeed their version of non-judgementalism is precisely a refusal to diagnose spiritual malady.

Whereas we poor retrogrades who still believe in personal sin are very well aware of the need for diagnosis and treatment. And it starts in the confessional.

But I want to pursue the metaphor into some other areas.

Let's think about language. The current vogue is against complex language and towards language that is understandable by all. Yet jargon (or to be more accurate, specialist language) serves a real purpose. Thus it may not be easy for me if the surgeon talks in medic-speak to me, as a lay patient; but I would rather he used precise language and explained it, than told me I had something wrong with my innards, even though that might be both true and easy to understand. And when it comes to medics talking about medical matters amongst themselves, the specialist language is essential, both to save time and ensure precision. Latin used to serve this purpose for the Church, both in liturgy and in theological discourse.

Likewise, we can think about ritual. I gather that there are now cleansing gels so powerful and effective that surgeons only need a few seconds to get their hands completely clean and sterile. Yet my medical friends tell me that the pre-operation ritual of a good hand-washing continues.
Bugnini would have axed that: but I believe it serves a purpose. At the individual level, it allows the surgeon to get in the right frame of mind for the important work he is about to do; and for the team, it acts as an important opportunity to get together, and unite in purpose and focus. What is noteworthy is that the behaviour continues even though its obvious, ostensible, purpose is no longer served. A bit like having candles on the altar.

All for the best at Blackfen?

Let us, as a starting point, assume the best of intentions of all those involved in the developments at Blackfen.

So let us assume that Fr Finigan was rewarded for his successes there by being promoted to a more responsible and possibly more challenging role in Margate,

Let us assume that the bishops, Archbishop Smith, who is familiar with the history there, and Bishop Lynch, who has the immediate local responsibility, sought out and appointed a replacement for Fr Finigan who would build on his work there, and ensure the continued mutual enrichment between the OF and the EF, as promoted by our Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVl.

Let us assume that Fr Fisher arrived with the intention of carrying out the bishops' plan to the best of his abilities 

Given those assumptions, something has gone seriously wrong.

Of course we all make mistakes, and it may be (though no reports have reached me to this effect) that some people were so upset by the initial changes Fr Fisher made, that they reacted badly, prompting his reaction, the results of which I have already blogged about.

Be that as it may, it would seem that the bishops' hopes, based on the assumptions above, are not being realised; so perhaps now would be the time for Fr Fisher to confer with them about the best way forward.

Of course, I realise that not all will share my assumptions above; my point is that, even given the most positive assumptions I can make, something has still gone seriously wrong. 

It may be, of course, that the bishops' analysis of the situation was different, and, for whatever noble reason, they had asked Fr Fisher to go in and put the parish on a different footing. If that were the case, it was clearly a more difficult brief, requiring high levels of tact and pastoral concern, in order to bring about desired change with the greatest chance of success. But surely in that case, Fr Fisher would have proceeded with a little more circumspection and slightly less haste, and above all would have sought to build some kind of relationship with those affected, so as to be able to explain what was being done and why.

If that were the plan, it has equally not worked: for I cannot believe the bishops wanted grown men reduced to tears, families and in particular children and young people, alienated, and large numbers of people shocked and scandalised by the reports emerging from the parish.  So perhaps now would be the time for Fr Fisher to confer with them about the best way forward.

In fact, whatever may have been the intentions of the bishops and the new parish priest, it seems that things have reached a point where the bishops, as the shepherds of their flock, need to use their good offices to help get things back on track.


In terms of latest news, I have heard that yesterday's EF Mass was replaced by an OF Mass, as there was nobody available to serve the EF, but there were people prepared to serve the OF.

I have not yet heard what has happened this morning. 

Friday, 19 September 2014

On Being Educated

I am always intrigued when people send me links to stuff that is designed to educate me. It has happened before (here for example) and has just happened again. Maureen Clarke (@retrochbabe) on Twitter sent me a link to this piece in the NCR.

As before, I wonder what ignorance has been detected for which the link is the antidote. I ask myself, why do I need educating by this particular article?  And as before, I struggle to find the answer.

The article seems to be arguing that the new rite of Mass is good (and the old, bad) because the new rite supports the new understanding of the Church developed at Vatican 2, whereas the old subverts it, in favour of the old understanding.

I dispute that analysis, of course - so perhaps that is why I am perceived to need educating.  

But what strikes me as funny, in an ironic sort of way, is that the progressive people who believe this (eg the author, and, I assume, Maureen Clarke) are very close to the sedevacantists who believe this; much closer to them than I am, or those who believe in a hermeneutic of continuity.

If I accepted the thrust of the argument in this preposterous NCR article, then I would be unable to attend the new Mass in good conscience: for I hold to the religion of the apostles and the saints, founded by Christ and unchanging in essentials. If Vatican 2 introduced something so radically at odds with that, that the Mass of Ages was suddenly subversive, then I could have nothing to do with it.

But of course Vatican 2 did no such thing; and it is only the extreme progressives and the extreme reactionaries who think that it did. Strange bedfellows...