Sunday, 11 November 2007

Where do I start ?

Let's have a look at this past week or two...

a] [from Fr Michael Clifton [Fr Mildew] ] An article in the TABLET could contain some disturbing news for priests on active work in England and Wales. A ruling was given in another court that an Evangelical Pastor who did not consider he was receiving fair treatment from his superior appealed to a court and was told that the State considered the clergy (of all denominations) were to be considered as paid employees of the diocese (or religious association) to which they belong. They would then be required to work to a written contract and would have rights to appeal to various lay tribunals in case of what they considered to be unfair treatment. Our Bishops have rightly considered that this would place an undue burden on both Dioceses and Clergy...and that we have always taken it for granted that a priest was employed by God in realityand self employed for tax purposes. I understand Archbishop Smith is producing some document on this matter soon.

[From Frs Ray Blake & Tim Finigan]
Bishop Hollis of Portsmouth is concerned about prostitution in his cathedral city, he argues that prostitution is going to happen so let's at least try to moderate it, a very apealing arguement.
Fr Tim Finigan reminds us of the basic Catholic principle: we cannot co-operate in evil.
The two views illustrate what is at the heart of the Liberal/Catholic debate it is essentially the vision of what a human being is.
The liberal view, which essentially springs from 16th century Protestantism is that mankind is, since the Fall, totally corrupt and utterly depraved, all we can do is mitigate the evil he does.
The Catholic view which is essentially that mankind, since the Fall has lost the vision of God and therefore is capable of great evil but because he is made in the image of God, even by the use of his reason he is capable of doing good, and when touched by grace, through Revelation he is capable of living the supernatural life of utter holiness.
Liberalism is essentially pessimistic: Catholicism is optimistic; well that is my take on this debate.

[and then guess what ? Bishop Hollis has been a busy little beaver !!! This from Damian Thompson's 'Holy Smoke' blog]
An email pings into my inbox from the Bishop of Portsmouth, Crispian Hollis. He tells me that his diocese “has always been generous about celebrations of the Extraordinary Rite, as it is now called”.

No it isn’t. It’s called the Extraordinary Form (EF). The Pope has gone to a lot of trouble to explain that the traditional Latin Mass is NOT a separate rite. This is the third time a senior Church source has screwed up the name of the EF or the apostolic letter liberating it, Summorum Pontificum. Funny, that.

First, the liturgy office of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales put out a statement referring to “Summorem Pontificum”. Then Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds wrote a churlish letter to his priests misrepresenting a document he called “Summorum Pontificium”.

And now this elementary mistake from Bishop Hollis, whose “director of liturgy” Paul Inwood tried to ban Catholics even from asking for the Extraordinary Form.

Am I making too much out of three mistakes that could have been slips of the pen? I asked a leading Catholic commentator who doesn’t have an axe to grind. He said simply: “The bishops don’t like this document, they’ve barely read it, and they don’t want to put it into practice.”

That has the ring of truth, don’t you think?

[Now, you'd think that would be more than enough from Bishop Hollis to last a lifetime ? Close, but no coconut , guess what he's behind ? This from Fr Ray Blake again]

I know I have reported on this course before but I was particularly struck by the quote, which I have highlighted from the President of Ushaw. It is from The Anglican Journal.
A three-week course designed to introduce foreign priests to the British way of doing things in the Roman Catholic church has opened at Ushaw College outside Durham in Northumberland, England.The first group of seven priests is from India, Nigeria and Poland.“Some foreign priests working in Britain tend to be too dogmatic about the church’s moral rightness on just about everything,” said Rev. Terry Drainey the president of Ushaw College. “That’s not how we do things here. This course shows how we deal with a whole range of issues affecting Catholics, including the role of women, divorce, the lay ministry and homosexuality.”It is the first course of its kind and is the brainchild of Bishop Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth

[You'd think that the Bishops had opened their mouths more than enough wouldn't you ? But no of course not - in comes Bishop Kieran Conry !!]

Last week a Sussex Catholic wrote to Kieran Conry, the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, suggesting that the “Extraordinary Form” of Latin Mass should be celebrated in some parishes at an ordinary time – Sunday mornings. He also dared to ask the bishop if he would celebrate the Latin Mass himself in his cathedral as a sign of unity.

Bishop Conry says Latin Mass is not popular with youth

He has been sent away with a flea in his ear. Bishop Conry’s dreadful response is yet more evidence that the Bishops of England and Wales are in a state of near-mutiny over the Pope’s decision to remove restrictions on the older form of Mass.

The letter-writer, Lionel Woodward from Crawley, asks the bishop if he will help priests celebrate the Latin Mass on Sunday mornings in parishes where there is demand for it. This will enable the younger generation get to know it better. “I believe you may well be pleasantly surprised by how many people would attend those Masses, especially if they are well sung with a mixture of chant and polyphony,” he writes.

Bishop Conry is having none it. He replies: “There is something of a contradiction when you suggest that the ‘extraordinary form’ (as the Holy Father puts it) might actually become the ‘ordinary’ form by taking place on a Sunday morning instead of the “ordinary” Sunday Mass. This is not envisaged by the document.”

It would take me several paragraphs to unpick all the misleading assumptions in these two sentences. Suffice it to say that Bishop Conry has constructed an Aunt Sally: neither Pope Benedict nor Mr Woodward has made the suggestion that he is attacking.

Note, incidentally, the phrase “the ‘extraordinary form’ (as the Holy Father puts it)”. You don’t need a degree in postmodern criticism to deconstruct that sneaky little formula.

The bishop continues: “The so-called ‘traditional’ Latin Masses that are celebrated in the diocese are not attended by enormous numbers of people, so I have no idea why you might think that significant numbers of young people might attend them. There is no evidence for this. No young person has approached me with a request in this vein.

“Finally, I have to say that I simply could not celebrate Mass in the ‘extraordinary’ form: I was ordained priest in 1975 and have never celebrated any other than the Mass of the 1970 Missal. The remarks I make about an ‘ordinary’ Mass would also apply here. The document makes it clear enough that a request from a ‘stable’ group would be grounds to consider such a celebration: this seems to imply that the majority of any congregation would have to express such a wish, and none have done this.”

Hmm. I don’t recall Bishop Conry being very responsive to the wishes of the majority of the congregation when he stopped the parishioners of the Sacred Heart, Hove, from celebrating the 1970 Mass in Latin a few years ago, causing enormous distress.

[So ! We've had Archbishop Lang, Bishop Roche, Bishop Hollis, Bishop Conry all laying into the Summorum Pontificum and the Extraordinary Form...who could possibly be next ? You've guessed it in one !!!]

Terrible news. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has issued his own guidelines regarding the Pope's liberation of the traditional Latin Mass. They are profoundly disappointing.
Disappointing: Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.
He begins by announcing that the Pope's purpose in removing restrictions on the Tridentine Mass was "to restore unity within the Church – both to enable those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity and to offer those who have not yet accepted the liturgical reforms and teachings of the Second Vatican Council a way back to full communion with the Church."
Let me quote the reaction of Fr John Zuhlsdorf, the world's leading traditionalist Catholic blogger: "This is a horribly narrow and inaccurate way of reading the Holy Father’s provisions. This does not take into account those who have no dificulty with unity but who merely desire the older form of Mass for the good of their souls.
"From the onset, therefore, the writer seeks to frame the whole issue as a matter of people who are on the edge of unity with the Church. And he seems to want you to think that that is the Pope’s view also. It isn’t."
The Cardinal goes on to say that the local bishop must be consulted about regular celebrations of the Extraordinary Form. Yet NOWHERE does the Pope say this in his Motu Proprio. He also resurrects an old rule about not saying Mass twice in a day: Fr Z reckons that this represents "the ugly face of double standard".

[Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, has accused dioceses that try to sabotage the Pope’s Motu Proprio of “prejudices of an ideological kind” and “pride, one of the gravest sins - and According to Damian Thompson's sources his Holiness is 'unsurprised but fully aware of the situation' . Now One would think that after being reprimanded by a fellow Archbishop His Eminence would be laying low and attempting some damage limitation ? Think Again - I think this [from Fr Mildew] has got to be one of the most outrageous things I've heard in a loooooooong time....]

The TABLET and some of the National Press report that ex PM Tony Blair will be received into the Catholic Church next month at a private ceremony conducted by Cardinal Murphy O'Connor. He is said to have received instruction from the local PP at Chequers, his country residence as Prime Minister and the inevitable Fr. Michael Seed OFM. I can hardly raise one cheer for this event. As PM and earlier he had a dreadful record on all the pro life issues and his goverment positively encouraged the various measures on embryo research, euthanasia etc which so defile our country. Rather interestingly the Daily Telegraph points out that although it has always been said that a Catholic could become PM (but not Lord Chancellor) following the 1829 Act of Emancipation, there is some legislation that would involve a PM in positively acting against the Faith and thereby render it impossible in practice for a Catholic to become PM.
I ask a naughty question or two . Did the ex PM know that if he became a Catholic while he was still PM he would have to resign on the spot ? That means his delay in joining us would be for purely pragmatic reasons like saving his job and not wanting Mr Brown to take over too early ! Then what are we to say of his attitude to the Pro Life issues now ? Has he made a private recantation of his views ? Does he not in fact actually have to recant publicly in view of his status before his reception ? Or is the whole business to be quietly swept under the carpet by those who instructed him ??? !!

[Then we learn this from the wonderful Mac McLernon [mulier fortis ] and discover that the very roof of the world is caving in regarding the dignity of the Human Being both inside and outside the womb]

The Appalling Abomination...
"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child..." (Mark 13:12)The quote and the post title come from the eschatological discourse of Jesus given in the Gospel of St. Mark. It was what came to mind when I considered the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which has been introduced by the UK government.I was very, very cynical when the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) held its so-called consultation meeting on the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos. I was proved right.The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is due to have its second reading on 19th November in the House of Lords.Originally, the emphasis was on embryos which were 99% human. As the following quote from CORE (Comment on Reproductive Ethics) makes clear, this is no longer the case...
"The new Bill instead includes full hybridisation in its remit. Animal eggs combined with human sperm, and human eggs fertilised with animal sperm will be permitted if this Bill is approved.In ethical terms this is possibly the most groundbreaking aspect of the Bill. Most of the other ethical horrors were already in place. The amended Act would simply liberalise everything even further.One such instance of liberalisation is the extension of the use of embryo diagnosis to create matching embryos for therapeutic purposes, moving way beyond the original focus on cord blood stem cells, now to include any tissue from the designed baby. How long until this includes 'designer' kidneys and other body parts?Something not to be overlooked is the reference to reproductive cloning. The document states blithely that the Human Reproductive Cloning Act 2001 is superseded by new provisions in the Bill. This is extremely alarming as it is not at all clear in the relevant sections whether reproductive cloning is indeed prohibited, and not least because of the continual flexibility built into the new text.Over and over in the Bill one notes prohibitions, but they are a usually qualified with a subsequent exception clause which gives power to amend, either by adding to or repealing, simply through extended regulations."If you only do one thing for the pro-life cause this year, make it this. Contact members of the House of Lords. SPUC have excellent resources to help - they've produced an
information leaflet which you can use, and they suggest who best to approach (and how to address them and other useful stuff like that.) Or you can email your chosen member by going to the WriteToThem website.And pray. Pray very hard !!!

[and this from Catholic Action UK regarding our beloved MPs]

From CF News: Members of the British government may face an investigation after a complaint that they did not declare donations they received from pro-abortion campaigners. Mrs Nadine Dorries, Conservative MP for mid-Bedfordshire, lodged the complaint against 12 Labour ministers and members of parliament who reportedly received grants from Emily's List, a body that assists women to enter politics on condition that they agree to support the pro-abortion cause.

[and to round it all off ? Archbishop Ranjith is verbally assaulted by that diabolical rag the Tablet {See Fr Z's assesment of it all } and then it attacks contemporary seminarians who are more open to the extraordinary form and orthodoxy as the "Brideshead brigade" !!! ]
When One has read such wonderful words from His Holiness in his sermon [see below] and then we have to endure this from both our government and our national "spiritual" leaders ???? It truly makes me think I haven't awoken and am still in a nightmare....